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CNSC Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) System Frequently Asked Questions

About AMPs

Issuing AMPs

Calculating AMPs

Reviewing an AMP

Paying an AMP

About AMPs

What is an AMP?

Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) are monetary penalties imposed by the regulator, without court involvement, for the violation of a regulatory requirement. They can be applied against any individual or corporation subject to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA).

The Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) (AMPs Regulations) came into force and were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on July 3, 2013. The details of the CNSC's AMPs program are outlined in REGDOC 3.5.2, Compliance and Enforcement: Administrative Monetary Penalties, published in August 2015.

Are AMPs the same as a criminal offence?

No.AMPs are civil sanctions that secure compliance through the application of monetary penalties for non-compliance with regulatory requirements. AMPs are imposed by way of an administrative process, whereas criminal offences are subject to prosecution in a court of law.

Who else uses an AMP system?

Several other federal and provincial government agencies and other countries include AMPs as part of their regulatory regimes. They include:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Transport Canada
  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission
  • The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (United States)
  • Industry Canada

Will AMPs be the CNSC's only enforcement tool?

No. The CNSC's compliance verification and enforcement program includes a number of tools, including written warnings, requests under subsection 12(2) of the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations, orders, increased regulatory scrutiny, licensing action, and decertification.

AMPs are one of the new tools in the CNSC's compliance verification and enforcement toolkit. They provide the CNSC with a broader range of options for responding to non-compliance.

Will the introduction of AMPs mean no more prosecutions?

No. The CNSC will continue to consider prosecution for actions that are considered offences under the NSCA.

What is the difference between a non-compliance and a violation?

A non-compliance is a regulatory requirement that has not been met. A non-compliance becomes a violation if it is listed in the schedule to the AMPs Regulations and the CNSC selects AMPs as the appropriate enforcement option.

Which non-compliances will be subject to AMPs?

Only the non-compliance listed as violations in the AMPs regulations may be subject to monetary penalties. The schedule of the regulations provides short-form descriptions of non-compliances that are considered to be violations under the AMPs regulations.

It is important to note that not all non-compliances will result in an AMP. The CNSC's compliance verification and enforcement program includes a number of enforcement options, including continued discussions with licensees, written notices, and orders.

Will the information about an AMP be made public?

Yes. The CNSC will apply its practice for public disclosure as per other regulatory actions: information about each AMP will be published to the CNSC's Web site soon after the Notice of Violation has been issued. The result of the reviews, if requested, will also be posted to the CNSC's Web site.

Where do AMPs fit in the CNSC's graduated enforcement scheme?

The CNSC's graduated enforcement strategy encourages the use of the most appropriate compliance verification and enforcement tool for each situation, which will regain compliance, using the least amount of effort possible. The first and most commonly used action is regular discussions with licensees. If this fails to resolve the issue, another action will be taken based on the situation.

Issuing AMPs

To whom can AMPs be issued?

AMPs can be issued to any individual or corporation subject to the NSCA. Those who comply with regulations and regulatory requirements will not be subject to AMPs.

Who will issue AMPs?

The Nuclear Safety and Control Act allows both CNSC Inspectors and Designated Officers to issue AMPs. However, under the CNSC program, AMPs will be issued only by Designated Officers, on the recommendation of Inspectors, Licensing Officers, Specialists or other trained staff.

How will AMPs be issued?

Each AMP will be issued in the form of a Notice of Violation (NoV) along with the invoice for payment and instructions on how to request a review.

The CNSC plans to issue NoVs by registered mail, but may also do so by way of personal delivery, registered mail, courier, fax or other electronic means (section 6, AMPs Regulations).

How will you ensure consistent application of AMPs?

An extensive training program will ensure that AMPs are consistently applied and that staff take a similar approach in similar circumstances to achieve similar results.

AMPs will not be issued in the field by inspectors. AMPs will be recommended to management following an established process. There will also be several layers of management endorsements and approvals as well as a quality check prior to issuing any AMP.

Do you have any examples of violations for which an AMP could be issued to an individual?

These are the 2 most common examples:
An individual could receive an AMP for any violation of section 17, "Obligations of Workers", of the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations or any violation of section 31 "Obligations of Operators" of the Nuclear Substances and Radiation Devices Regulations.

Will a licensee receive a warning before an AMP is issued?

AMPs will rarely be the first response to a non-compliance. The CNSC follows a 'no-surprises' approach and according to the CNSC's graduated enforcement strategy, licensees are generally given several opportunities to correct a non-compliance prior to AMPs being considered. In rare circumstances will AMPs be the first response to a non-compliance.

Will the CNSC offer a positive reinforcement for consistent compliance when considering AMPs?

The CNSC does not offer rebates or reductions as a reward for consistent compliance. However, factors such as good compliance history are taken into account when determining if an AMP is the appropriate enforcement action when determining the final penalty amount.

If an action notice is given during a routine inspection, would the non-compliance be automatically considered for an AMP?

No. AMPs are simply an additional option in our compliance and enforcement toolkit. If however the action notice is not complied with, then other compliance and enforcement options will be considered, including AMPs.

Would a self-identified non-compliance be considered or eligible for an AMP?

First of all, let's be clear: There are some events and situations that must be reported to the CNSC in order to comply with regulatory requirements. If you don't comply with these reporting requirements, you may be subject to an AMP.

The CNSC encourages self-identification and self-reporting of non-compliances and any other dialogue with licensees. Typically, should a licensee self-identify non-compliances, an AMP may not be the most appropriate tool; however, in cases where there may have been harm caused by the non-compliance, it is possible that an AMP may be appropriate. If an AMP is chosen, the fact that it was self-identified may result in lowering the amount of the penalty.

Calculating AMPs

How will the AMP amount be determined?

Once an AMP has been selected as the appropriate enforcement action, the following seven factors found in section 5 of the AMPs Regulations will be taken into account to determine the penalty amount:

  • the compliance history of the person who has committed the violation
  • the degree of intent or negligence on the part of the person
  • the harm that resulted or could have resulted from the violation
  • whether the person derived any competitive or economic benefit from the violation
  • whether the person made reasonable efforts to mitigate or reverse the violation's effects
  • whether the person provided all reasonable assistance to the Commission
  • whether the person brought the violation to the attention of the Commission

The CNSC defines the factors listed above as Determining Factors.

Based on a review of other AMPs programs, the CNSC has determined that assigning a weight, based on regulatory significance, to each of the determining factors ensures a consistent approach to determining penalty amounts. The weight assigned to each determining factor is published in the CNSC's REGDOC 3.5.2: Compliance and Enforcement: Administrative Monetary Penalties.

The number of determining factors, and their corresponding weights, will influence the final penalty amount. Where multiple determining factors apply, the assigned weights are applied cumulatively, up to the maximum penalty amount in the range for the given category. Mitigating factors decrease the penalty amount, no lower than the minimum penalty amount in the penalty table.

Will there be a limit on how high a penalty amount can be?

Section 44 of the NSCA establishes maximum and minimum penalty amounts for individuals and corporations. The maximum penalty for a single violation by an individual will be $25,000. The maximum penalty for a single violation by a corporation will be $100,000. These amounts will be applied per violation.

A violation committed or continued on more than one day may be considered as a separate violation (NSCA, s. 65.07). Any additional daily penalties will be calculated accordingly.

Can I receive an AMP from other regulators for the same incident?

It is important to recognize that a single incident might result in non-compliance with multiple regulatory bodies.

The CNSC cannot prevent other regulatory bodies from exercising regulatory activities within their respective jurisdictions, and vice-versa.

If I receive an AMP, will my licensing fees increase?

No. AMPs are a tool in the CNSC's enforcement toolkit, providing the CNSC with a broader range of options for responding to non – compliance.

Reviewing an AMP

Will there be a review process?

Yes. An AMP can be reviewed, upon request by the recipient, by submitting a request for review to the Commission within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Violation. The process for requesting a review will be included in the Notice of Violation, and is outlined in the NSCA (ss 65.1- 65.15).

Who is the review panel for AMPs?

The review panel consists of Commission Members.

Can you appeal the decision of the review panel?

Once the Commission has reviewed the case and made a determination, the decision is final and binding and, except for judicial review under the Federal Courts Act, is not subject to appeal or to review by any court.

Paying an AMP

How will I pay my AMP?

The Notice of Violation (NoV) will include an invoice and payment instructions. All payments are due 30 days from the date the NoV is considered received in accordance with Section 6 of the AMP Regulations.

When an AMP is paid, where will the money go?

Cheques are made payable to the Receiver General of Canada. The money received in payment of AMPs will go to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Government of Canada as per the amended NSCA section 65.18 (debt to the Crown). No money will go to the CNSC, or to individuals or groups that report a violation.

What happens if an AMP is not paid?

Any overdue payments are handled according to normal accounts receivable procedures and, if necessary, collection procedures are initiated when the due date has passed with neither payment nor a request for review.

Non-payment of a penalty is treated as a non-compliance with the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Any unpaid penalty amount is a debt due to the Crown and may be recovered in the Federal Court or any other court of competent jurisdiction.

Are licensees permitted to pay AMPs on behalf of their employees?

Unless there is a request for review, the AMP must be paid within 30 days by or on behalf of the person it was issued to.

Does the CNSC expect to collect the money from an individual?

The CNSC will use its existing processes to collect money from both individuals and corporations.

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