Canada’s nuclear regulator modernizes regulations related to worker protections 

News release

Ottawa – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has amended its regulations governing radiation protection for workers in the nuclear sector. The new regulations include accommodations for workers who are breastfeeding, and a lower annual limit for radiation doses to the lens of the eye.

The updates take into account the current science on radiation protection, as well as international standards and recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

“We have taken action to minimize radiation risks for all workers—including those who are breastfeeding. Our regulations have come a long way since I was authorized as one of the first pregnant workers to enter a radiation area in Canada many years ago. Safety is at the core of everything we do. Now, workers will be even better informed to reduce their potential exposure on the job,” stated CNSC President and CEO Rumina Velshi.

Radiation protection regulations set limits on the amount of radiation workers may receive during the conduct of licensed activities. The CNSC requires every licensee to implement a radiation protection program that keeps the amount of exposure to ionizing radiation as low as reasonably achievable and below regulatory dose limits.

The updates are based on the 20 years of regulatory experience since the regulations first came into force, and the latest science on radiation exposure.

“As science evolves, we evolve. We understand now that cataract risk can occur at doses lower than previously considered. By lowering the regulatory dose limit, to 50 mSv from 150 mSv per year, we are aligning Canadian with international standards and better protecting workers,” stated CNSC’s Chief Science Officer, Peter Elder.

Updates to the regulations include:

  • a new requirement for licensees to make reasonable accommodation for nuclear energy workers who have self-disclosed that they are breastfeeding
  • revision of the equivalent dose limit for the lens of the eye
  • clarification of expectations for applying for a licence to operate a dosimetry service, the labelling of containers and devices, and the posting of radiation warning signs
  • a new requirement for licensees to retain dose records for a five-year period
  • a new requirement for licensees to appropriately select, use and maintain radiation detection and measurement instrumentation
  • a new requirement for licensees to inform all nuclear energy workers of their duties and responsibilities during an emergency, as well as the risks associated with radiation during the control of an emergency

Quick facts on consultation

  • The CNSC received 400 comments during a 120-day comment period after the publication of discussion paper DIS-13-01, Proposals to Amend the Radiation Protection Regulations in 2013.
  • There were 82 comments received during a 30-day comment period on a revised draft of the regulations published in Canada Gazette, Part I in 2019.
  • The CNSC held 39 outreach sessions with stakeholders and 3 webinars.

The CNSC regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect the health, safety and security of Canadians and the environment; to implement Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy; and to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public. 

Associated links


Media Relations
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Tel: 613-996-6860 or 1-800-668-5284

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