Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee - Three Year Business Plan (2017-2020)

Approved on: October 27, 2017

“To advance the development and harmonization of practices and standards for radiation protection within Federal, Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions, and to communicate these to the people of Canada”

Table of Contents

 

Executive Summary

This Business Plan (BP) presents an overview of the work of Canada’s Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee (FPTRPC), focusing in particular on those activities to be undertaken during the three fiscal years commencing April 1, 2017. The work of the FPTRPC is assisted through several Sub-committees and Working Groups, supported by the efforts and resources brought to the table by the FPTRPC membership representatives and by other organizations (governmental and non-governmental). In recognizing that in some jurisdictions the resources for radiation protection within government are limited or non-existent, the FPTRPC strives to support radiation protection activities within these jurisdictions.

The purpose of the Business Plan is to document and communicate the key business activities of the FPTRPC, resulting primarily from deliberations at its annual meetings held in October each year. Using a “rolling 3-year” approach, the BP is updated annually. It reports progress achieved in the previous year and documents the agreed actions to be carried out over the next three years. It captures the short term and intermediate term business activities of the FPTRPC. This information is to be shared with a wide range of stakeholders, including key regulatory agencies across the various jurisdictions and for others with responsibilities in the field of radiation protection.

The role of the FPTRPC is to serve as the primary governmental forum to develop, promote, coordinate and harmonize the standards and practices for radiation protection within federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions within Canada, while recognizing the distinct responsibilities that each jurisdiction has in this field. The aim is directed towards benefiting organizations, whether in the public or private sector, and individuals, as workers, patients or as members of the public, who are affected by the actions of the regulatory, advisory and service agencies within their jurisdiction. Key strategies include the development of national standards, guidelines, codes of practice and model regulations.

The FPTRPC is also active in the promotion of, support for, involvement in and review of research initiatives of relevance to its mandate. It plays a coordinating role in the organizing and hosting of technical forums and workshops for the purpose of consulting with knowledgeable experts and for seeking input and feedback from stakeholders on major radiation protection initiatives and proposals affecting Canadians. It develops information resources and position statements; and liaises with national and international radiation protection organizations.

Introduction

This document presents the fifth three-year business plan developed by the FPTRPC. It covers the period commencing April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2020. The content is based on deliberations up to and including those at the Committee’s annual meetings held in Ottawa each year during the month of October. The Committee will use this BP to report on progress in its business initiatives during the past year and to record its directions for the coming three years. A summary of recent accomplishments is also included in this BP.

The BP represents the principal business document of the FPTRPC. Other detailed transaction records, comprising Committee meeting minutes as well as reports and notes prepared by Sub-committees and Working Groups, are available as separate documents. The BP outlines the major goals and objectives of the FPTRPC and describes the reporting and accountability relationships. It provides information for use by other Federal Provincial Territorial Committees and Councils, and by professional organizations concerned with the broader areas of medical/healthcare, environmental, occupational, and public health and safety in Canada.

A brief history of the FPTRPC is provided in the Background section, summarizing its formation, business to date, as well the activities of its predecessor organization (the Federal Provincial Sub-committee on Radiation Surveillance). To orient readers, the Terms of Reference of the FPTRPC are given as part of the Background. The BP includes a brief Environmental Scan, reflecting current domestic and international circumstances within which the FPTRPC conducts its business. A summary of the principal business initiatives is given. Detailed work activities of the Committee, its Sub-committees and Working Groups, are provided together with a list of the work priorities. Other business items referred to include such matters as international liaison and Canadian representation on international bodies. Appendices are provided which detail the composition of and representation on the FPTRPC and its Sub-committees and Working Groups.

Background

The FPTRPC was created in 1993, when it superseded the Federal Provincial Sub-committee on Radiation Surveillance (FPSRS). The FPSRS was a Sub-committee of the Federal Provincial Committee on Environmental and Occupational Health, which in turn reported to the Council of Deputy Ministers of Health. The FPSRS operated for a period of some ten years, until a restructuring took place in the early 1990s by the federal government to reduce the number of Committees, Sub-committees and Working Groups.

The members of the FPSRS had recognized that the meetings were very beneficial for the coordination and development of radiation protection programs across Canada and for addressing issues of national importance. International incidents such as the Chernobyl nuclear accident and domestic issues, such as the concern for radon gas in homes and other buildings, hi-lighted the importance of coordinating the limited resources nationally to address these matters. Therefore, a proposal was made by the membership to reform the FPSRS as an independent Committee (FPTRPC) which would have its reporting relationship through the member jurisdiction departments that were to be represented on the new Committee. Formal support for the Committee was requested and received from each of the jurisdictions of the former FPSPS. The Territories were also invited to participate, even though they had no identified radiation protections departments. The costs for holding an annual meeting would be shared amongst the members. The FPTRPC held its first formal meeting in October 1993.

Since that time, the FPTRPC has held regular annual meetings, has developed its Terms of Reference (see APPENDIX I) and established a number of Sub-committees and Working Groups to address the detailed technical aspects of the Committee’s work. A list of the major achievements to date is provided in this BP. The FPTRPC continues to liaise with the Federal-Provincial Committee on Environmental and Occupational Health, concerning matters of mutual interest (e.g. drinking water quality guidelines). Expansion of the FPTRPC is a key initiative to achieving effective representation of appropriate federal government agencies. In 1999, the Department of National Defence formally joined the FPTRPC to become the third federal organization, along with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Health Canada.

Communication with other domestic organizations and with international bodies is actively being pursued. In particular, the Canadian radiation protection community has been informed of its work through articles published in the bulletins of the Canadian Radiation Protection Association and the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists.

Reporting and accountability

The work of the FPTRPC covers a broad range of radiation protection matters. These matters cover occupational health & safety, public health and safety, environmental concerns, emergency preparedness etc.

Members of the FPTRPC represent their respective jurisdictions at the meetings and are responsible for reporting to their agency on the business transactions that result. In addition, it is expected that members will seek input from and provide information to other agencies within their jurisdiction on the business of the FPTRPC. Each Member is accountable to their agency for bringing forward to their jurisdiction matters of concern that fall within the scope and mandate of the FPTRPC.

Draft minutes of meetings (normally held in October each year) are prepared and distributed to members within six weeks of the completion of the meetings. Members are obligated to report back in a timely manner to their respective agencies on the business conducted and the decisions reached. Members will undertake tasks additional to those carried out during the meetings, through participating on Sub-committee and Working Groups, to support the overall work of the FPTRPC. This entails a commitment of time and resources to help complete the appointed tasks.

The FPTRPC strives to ensure effective communication with other national and international organizations through direct information exchanges and through participation by representatives from FPTRPC member agencies on Committees and Working Groups. In certain cases, these interactions are required as a result of obligations under international agreements. The following organizations are of particular interest to the FPTRPC:

  • CANADA —
    Canadian Association of Radiologists
    Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
    Canadian Electrical Association
    Canadian Nuclear Association
    Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists
    Canadian Radiation Protection Association
    Canadian Medical and Biological Engineering Society
    USA —
    Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors
    National Council for Radiation Protection and Measurements
    INTERNATIONAL —
    Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
    International Atomic Energy Agency
    International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection
    International Commission on Radiological Protection
    International Electro-Technical Commission
    Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD
    World Health Organization

Environment scan

Radiation protection in Canada is challenged by the complexity of the multiple jurisdictions responsible for different aspects of the radiation protection agenda, and the important influence of relevant international organizations in the areas of nuclear safety, security and radiological science. The demands of international trade and cooperation can further constrain sovereign activities.

Many types of radiation technologies are imported for use in Canada. These may not automatically conform to accepted Canadian standards. Canada is officially bi-lingual, which places requirements on importers of goods to ensure that documentation, operating instructions, health and safety information as well as labels and warning signs are available in both French and English.

As a member state of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Canada has obligations concerning international safeguard requirements for controlling access to nuclear materials, along with its domestic requirements for the control of substances associated with the nuclear fuel cycle. The IAEA continues to develop and update its safety standards series, and changes in the areas of radiation protection, emergency preparedness, nuclear security and public communications will have an impact on the way in which radiation protection programs are implemented in Canadian jurisdictions. Likewise, the recommendations and guidance published by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), which are generally followed in Canada, as well ongoing work of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency in the areas of radiation protection and public health, radiation protection science, and stakeholder involvement in radiation protection decision making amongst others, will continue to exert an influence on future directions of radiation protection.

Concerns continue in the post-Fukushima context regarding the readiness to respond to nuclear accidents, as well as the specter of terrorism involving nuclear weapons, the use of “dirty bombs” to disperse radioactivity, or attacks on major nuclear facilities (e.g. reactors).

Responsibility for workplace health and safety is under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories, typically through their Worker Compensation Boards or Departments of Labour. The exception is where this is explicitly a federal domain, such as in federal departments, agencies and corporations, the armed forces, national research organizations and those industries involved in inter-provincial land transportation, air and maritime services and telecommunications.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is the federal agency responsible for the control of nuclear substances and facilities, as well as the resulting radiation exposure, except within the Canadian armed forces. Naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) however are not regulated by the CNSC except when these materials are being transported or imported/exported. NORM remains the responsibility of the provinces and territories, except where this is explicitly in a federal setting.

As a subset of NORM, the health risks associated with radon exposure in homes and public buildings and the need to increase awareness and action by Canadian to manage this risk continues to be an important public health consideration, as evidenced by the continuing importance of Health Canada’s National Radon Program and the Take Action on Radon network.

Radiation emitting devices, other than those using nuclear substances, are subject to federal requirements at the point of sale or importation regarding standards for design, construction and function. Otherwise, for installation and use the jurisdiction is again provincial or territorial, except for those devices installed and used in federal facilities or in federally regulated industries. The Canada Labour Code prevails in federal jurisdictions, and for radiation protection the standards developed by Health Canada, as specified in its series of radiation protection safety codes, are applicable.

At the provincial and territorial levels, radiation protection is administered either through designated radiation protection programs or as part of the broader duties of occupational health and safety officers. For the provinces, radiation protection programs are based in various ministries or agencies. Some of the programs have regulatory authorities, while for others their functions are restricted to advisory and service roles and supporting the regulatory programs of other environmental, occupational and public health bodies.

One key area of responsibility for the provinces and territories is the delivery of healthcare, which is a major user of medical x-ray equipment. Protection of patients is a trade off in the optimization of exposure to achieve an acceptable level of diagnostic information. The introduction of computerized imaging modalities is leading to larger doses to the population. The advent of digital imaging requires renewed attention on the means for controlling exposures. Protection of healthcare workers is important as this group accounts for the largest number of occupationally exposed persons, at around 70% of all persons currently monitored routinely for occupational radiation exposure in Canada.

A full listing of the member organizations and their representatives on the FPTRPC is given in Appendix II.

Business overview

The work of the FPTRPC can be categorized under the following headings:

  • Diagnostic Radiology – medical x-ray practices, reference doses, new technology (digital), mammography & other standards, radiological exposure trends
  • Dose Limits and Worker Issues – harmonization of limits (workers; general public; pregnant worker); worker suspension, return to work, injury claims and compensation
  • Dosimetry Services and Dose Records – approval of commercial services, wearing of dosimeters, changes to doses records, accessing the National Dose Registry
  • FPTRPC Administration – membership/representation, terms of reference, work plans, meetings, minutes & reports, sub-committees and working groups, communication/liaison
  • Standards and Guidelines – International standards (ICRP, IAEA, ICNIRP, WHO), national guidelines (e.g. drinking water, radon in homes), other agencies (DND, HRDC)
  • Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials – jurisdiction, national NORM guidelines, identification, regulatory controls, waste management, worker protection, transportation, radon
  • Non-ionizing Radiation – sunlamps and sun awareness, lasers, microwave and RF devices, cell phones and towers, radio transmitters, VDTs, 60Hz- ELF, ultrasound items
  • Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy – quality assurance, patient doses, accident reporting
  • Nuclear Emergency Preparedness – preparedness/response planning, intervention levels and protective action guidelines, support services (environmental, laboratory & human testing)
  • Radiation Emitting Devices – legislation, Safety Codes, development/updating process
  • Radiation Safety and Control Issues – legislation, licensing, inspections, evaluations
  • Resources in Canada – government programs/ staffing, private services, advisory bodies, instrumentation & equipment, calibration/testing laboratories, research/education programs

Business activities

FPTRPC Working Groups and Work Assignments

A. Business Plan and Communications Working Group

  • Create Business Plan for the period of 2017 to 2020
  • Ensure that the information on the FPTRPC website is current including contact list and hyperlinks
  • Prepare a summary of the annual meetings for the CRPA Bulletin

B. Canadian Naturally Occurring Radioactivity Material Working Group

  • Review national and international literature regarding naturally occurring radioactive materials and NORM management methods.
  • the Canadian NORM Guidelines should be reopened with broader stakeholder consultation
  • Guidelines for the Transportation of NORM are almost complete and should be finalized
  • NORM waste disposal issue needs to be addressed

C. Electromagnetic Fields Working Group

  • Provide expert guidance to the FPTRPC on the health effects and methods of protection related to exposures from electromagnetic fields across the frequency range 0 – 300 GHz.
  • Health Canada to develop a work plan
  • Health Canada to provide updates on the EMF working group.
  • Health Canada to look at position statements to see if they are up to date
  • Monitor the literature concerning EMF impact on workers and the general public

D. Radiation Dosimetry Working Group

  • Multi-badging document to be finalized by January 31, 2017
  • CNSC to provide the comments and dispositions from the Radiation Protection Regulations amendments discussion paper re: dose limit for the lens of the eye.
  • Monitor literature on doses to the lens of eye.

E. Radiation Protection in Healthcare Working Group
(formerly Canadian Medical Dose, Mammography and Medical X-Ray Utilization Working Groups)

  • Work with HC and CNSC to review existing national medical radiation dose levels
  • Create one-pager from the FPTRPC on dental hand held equipment serve as guidance to provinces and territories which could later be absorbed into the updated safety code

Accomplishments

A number of major accomplishments have been achieved by the FPTRPC, notably the preparation of major information documents and supporting the development of documents by other organizations. The following list of items is provided to hi-light the major areas of work completed during the past and those items that are in progress:

Document List

Supported Items

The FPTRPC committee website is hosted by Health Canada. It provides information about current committee members and their contact information. It also provides hyperlinks to documents produced by the committee and a list of stakeholders. A link to the website can be found here.

Appendix I - FPTRPC - Terms of reference

(updated 2017)

Mission

To advance the development and harmonization of practices and standards for radiation protection within Federal, Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions.

Mandate

The FPTRPC is an intergovernmental Committee established to support Federal, Provincial and Territorial radiation protection agencies in their respective mandates by:

  1. providing a national focus for government radiation protection agencies;
  2. promoting the harmonization of radiation health and safety programs;
  3. identifying emerging issues in radiation protection and recommending actions to the appropriate jurisdictions;
  4. developing and harmonizing radiation protection standards, guidelines and input for legislation that take into account international practices and best practices
  5. providing a forum for representatives of the provinces and territories, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Department of National Defence, Health Canada and other federal departments/agencies;
  6. considering requests from other governmental committees and agencies concerned with health, safety and environmental issues and liaising regularly with such committees and agencies.

Membership

  • The Committee shall consist of one delegate from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, one delegate from the Department of National Defence, and one delegate from each Province or Territory, with the exception that:
    • Health Canada may have two delegates representing the Radiation Protection Bureau and the Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau; and
    • Ontario may have two delegates, representing the Ministries of Labour and Health & Long-Term Care.
  • The delegates should be those individuals directly responsible for radiation protection within their respective jurisdictions.
  • Each member jurisdiction may be represented at any meeting of the Committee by an alternate delegate who is nominated by the member jurisdiction and is permitted to participate on behalf of the member jurisdiction in the work of the Committee.
  • A delegate or alternate delegate may be accompanied by other individuals from their jurisdiction. Such individuals may not participate in decision-making by the Committee.
  • The Committee will decide on the circumstances in which it may invite to its meetings, or to meetings of its sub-committees and working groups, persons representing non-governmental interests or representing governmental interests other than those of the member jurisdictions. Such persons or interests may participate to the extent permitted by the Chairs, with the consent of the Committee. In no case may such persons or interests participate in the taking of a decision by the Committee.

Operation of the committee

  1. SCOPE
    • The Committee operates under the auspices of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Health Canada and the Provinces and Territories.
    • The Committee is a coordinating body in which representatives of each of the jurisdictions may consult together on matters within their respective jurisdictions, such as:
      1. the adoption of regulations, amendments to existing regulations, guidelines for techniques of conduct, codes of practices, manuals of emergency procedures, and general aspects of radiation health and safety regulations;
      2. consistent measures and standards within Canada (these may be derived from the analysis of hazards through studies undertaken by members on their own initiative or through research undertaken on formal recommendations of the Committee); and
      3. matters related to radiation health and safety at the international level.
    • To fulfill its mandate the Committee may establish subcommittees and working groups to examine specific aspects of any matter which falls within its mandate. The Committee will decide on the membership (which may include external experts), the terms of reference and the objectives of the subcommittee or working group.
    • Such sub-committees and working groups will conduct their business in the manner prescribed by the rules of procedure of the Committee and shall report their activities regularly as required by the Committee.
    • The Committee may establish partnership with other committees and organizations.
  2. ROLE OF DELEGATES
    • Delegates represent their respective jurisdictions and constituents at the meetings, and are responsible for keeping their governments informed on the transactions of the Committee and decisions made.
    • In addition, it is expected that delegates will seek input from and provide information to other agencies within their jurisdiction on the business of the FPTRPC.
    • Delegates will undertake tasks additional to those carried out during the meetings, through participating on Sub-committee and Working Groups, to support the overall work of the FPTRPC. This entails a commitment of time, effort and resources to help complete the appointed tasks.
  3. OFFICERS
    • The Executive Officers of the FPTRPC include three Co-Chairs, a Provincial/Territorial Vice-Chair, and the Past Provincial/Territorial Chair.
    • The three co-chairs consist of one co-chair appointed by each of the two host federal agencies, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Health Canada, as well as the elected chair from provincial - territorial representatives.
    • The Provincial/Territorial co-chair and Provincial/Territorial Vice-Chair will be elected by the simple majority vote of the provincial - territorial representatives. Appointments will be for a 2-year term, so long as the they remain members of the Committee.
    • At the annual meeting, every second year, each Provincial /Territorial Executive Officer will move up one position and a new Provincial/Territorial Vice-Chair will be elected. Any unplanned vacancies will also be filled at this time.
    • The Provincial/Territorial chair is permitted to accept a subsequent two-year term if the Vice-Chair is not available to assume this role. In the absence of the Provincial/Territorial Chair, the Provincial/Territorial Vice- Chair will take the chair and may immediately nominate a new Vice-Chair
    • The three co-chairs will be responsible for producing the agenda at least two weeks prior to each meeting
    • The three co-chairs shall preside over the annual meetings.
  4. QUORUM
    • A minimum of seven (7) delegates shall constitute a quorum.
  5. VOTING
    • Decisions, for which a vote is required, shall be determined by a simple majority of delegates present, with each Federal, Provincial and Territorial agency accorded one (1) vote.
  6. SECRETARIAT
    • Secretariat services will be provided to the Committee by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and by Health Canada as required. All records and other documents pertaining to the official proceedings shall be distributed to the delegates by the Secretariat.
    • Draft minutes of meetings (normally held in October each year) shall be prepared and distributed to all delegates within six (6) weeks after any meeting.
  7. MEETING FREQUENCY
    • There will be at least one annual face-to-face meeting, normally held in Ottawa. The meeting will include at least one session chaired by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, one by Health Canada and one by the Provincial/Territorial co-chair.
    • Session presentations will be grouped by topic, not by the chair’s organization.
    • Additional meetings, including teleconferences, will be held at the call of the Chairs or at the request of a quorum of the members.
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