Remarks by President Velshi at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development 


March 3, 2022

– Check against delivery –

Chair and members of the Committee, my name is Rumina Velshi, and I am joining you from Toronto in the traditional territory of many Nations, and now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Besides being the President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, or CNSC, Canada’s independent nuclear safety regulator; I am also currently the Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s - the IAEA’s- Commission on Safety Standards which establishes standards for the global nuclear community, including for radioactive waste.

I want to register 4 points with you today.

First, the CNSC was established by Parliament in 2000 by the Nuclear Safety and Control Act as an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal with the authority to regulate all nuclear facilities and activities in Canada, including radioactive wastes.

We report to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources – we do not report to the Minister. The Minister exerts no control over the CNSC’s day-to-day activities or on decisions.

The Commission’s decisions, which are based on the best available science and an understanding of the risks involved, can be reviewed only by a Federal Court.  These are the cornerstones of our independence.

Second, under the strong regulatory oversight of our highly competent staff, radioactive waste in Canada has been managed safely for decades, including its handling, processing, transportation, and storage.

In Canada, licensees are directly responsible for safely managing all of their radioactive wastes. They are required to maintain financial guarantees that ensure they will have the resources to safely terminate their licensed activities and safely dispose off all radioactive material and equipment.

Third, the CNSC has a modern, comprehensive, and mature regulatory framework that is consistent with the Government of Canada’s nuclear policies.

Our framework is also aligned with international standards and best practices. This was confirmed by a 2019 peer review conducted by the IAEA.

Finally, I want to stress to you the importance the CNSC places on ensuring that what we do is open, fair and transparent.

Our hearing process is designed to encourage participation from everyone with an interest, especially Indigenous nations and communities and the public.

We are in communities early to build an understanding of our processes, we communicate with interested participants through a variety of channels, and we offer funding to enable full participation.

Let me conclude by emphasizing that our interest is safety –above all else.

Thank you. Miigwetch

Page details

Date modified: