Language selection


Blueprint 2020 Progress Reports

© Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) 2016

Extracts from this document may be reproduced for individual use without permission provided the source is fully acknowledged. However, reproduction in whole or in part for purposes of resale or redistribution requires prior written permission from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Également publié en français sous le titre : Rapport d'étape sur Objectif 2020

Document availability
This document can be viewed on the CNSC website. To request a copy of the document in English or French, please contact:

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
280 Slater Street
P.O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5S9

Tel.: 613-995-5894 or 1-800-668-5284 (in Canada only)
Facsimile: 613-995-5086
Twitter: @CNSC_CCSN

Message from the President

Photo of Michael Binder.

I am pleased to present the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's (CNSC) Blueprint 2020 Progress Report for 2016. This year we are celebrating 70 years of nuclear safety in Canada, with 2016 marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of our predecessor, the Atomic Energy Control Board.

Each year, we make great strides in aligning our priorities with Blueprint 2020's guiding principles: an open and networked environment that engages citizens and partners for the public good; a whole-of-government approach that enhances service delivery and value for money; a modern workplace that makes smart use of new technologies to improve networking, access to data and customer service; and a capable, confident and high-performing workforce that embraces new ways of working and mobilizes the diversity of talent to service the country's evolving needs.

Health and wellness are crucial to our workplace. At the CNSC, we are committed to creating a culture that embraces psychological health, safety and well-being through collaboration, inclusivity and respect. This past year, we have increased our focus on mental health awareness by introducing the "Not Myself Today" campaign, which promotes awareness of mental health issues and fosters a culture of acceptance and support for those who may be facing such challenges.

We have also significantly increased our recruitment efforts in the area of workforce renewal. New graduates represent about 10 percent of our current workforce. We will continue to replenish our workforce in the years to come.

We have weaved Blueprint 2020 into the fabric of our organization. It exists within our safety culture as well as our plans and priorities. It is engrained in the way we work, continually increasing cross-boundary collaboration, openness and transparency.

I invite you to read this annual progress report, which outlines how we are living the Blueprint 2020 vision in everything we do.

Michael Binder

Who We Are

Seal of the Worlds Best Nuclear Regulator


To be the best nuclear regulator in the world.


The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security 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.

Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the CNSC's mandate involves four major areas:

  • regulation of the development, production and use of nuclear energy in Canada to protect health, safety and the environment
  • regulation of the production, possession, use and transport of nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and prescribed information
  • implementation of measures respecting international control of the development, production, transport and use of nuclear energy and substances, including measures respecting the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices
  • dissemination of scientific, technical and regulatory information concerning the activities of the CNSC and the effects the development, production, possession, transport and use of nuclear substances has on the environment and the health and safety of persons

Weaving Blueprint 2020 into the fabric of our organization

A broad engagement and improvement process, Blueprint 2020 envisions a world-class public service focused on being agile, creative and innovative. Its purpose is to help shape a common perspective on outcomes the Government of Canada is aiming for and the partnerships required to achieve them. The Blueprint 2020 vision guides ongoing evolution by ensuring the Canadian government has the right people, systems and processes to excel now and into the future.Footnote 1

At the CNSC, we have taken a multidisciplinary approach to implementing this vision. Shaping our culture requires weaving Blueprint 2020 into the fabric of our organization. It is engrained in all aspects of our highly-engaged organization as we strive to grow the best nuclear regulator in the world. Blueprint exists not only in our human resources (HR) practices but also in the way we do business.

As outlined in this report, we demonstrate Blueprint 2020 through our safety culture, international cooperation, strong leadership, engaged employees, trained experts, fresh ideas, field expertise and continuous development.

Staff members watching a presentation
Our "town hall" meetings were well attended – a testament to our staff's commitment to safety culture.

Safety Culture

An important way we nurture a safety culture at the CNSC is by recognizing how our actions, behaviours, recommendations and decisions affect the health and safety of employees as well as our ability to ensure our mandate is implemented – all while providing assurance that our licensees maintain safety across their facilities and activities.

A healthy safety culture helps CNSC staff be more engaged and express concerns, focuses organizational priorities, sets a good example to licensees and builds public confidence.

Safety culture town hall meetings

This past year, the CNSC continued this important dialogue at our internal "town hall" meetings. At these sessions, employees were encouraged to share what safety culture means to them on an organizational and individual level as well as their ideas about how our safety culture can be further improved.

Our safety culture is the product of the health and safety of our employees being paramount. It is the product of the organizational mission, programs and practices - along with employee and management actions and behaviours - that establish and support safety as an overriding priority.

Ramzi Jammal
Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer

The main themes of these sessions were:

  • empowering employees to raise issues without fear of reprisal
  • developing a problem identification and resolution process to address issues or concerns raised
  • modelling appropriate behaviours regardless of level or position
  • improving horizontal and vertical communications

Safety culture champion Ramzi Jammal addresses town hall attendees

Continuing focus

The CNSC is working toward ensuring staff have avenues to raise issues and express opinions. In 2015, a working group was established to discuss certain matters pertaining to scientific integrity. This group is currently developing or reviewing the following: open door policy, non-concurrence process, differences of professional opinion process, publishing process and the science policy in a regulatory environment.

Promoting health and wellness

At the CNSC, we want to ensure a healthy work environment and help all employees perform at their best by promoting mental well-being and fostering a culture of acceptance and support for those who may be facing mental health challenges. As we strive to be the best nuclear regulator, providing a respectful and healthy workplace is not only essential – it's also the right thing to do

From left to right: Vice-President of Corporate Services Branch and Chief Financial Officer and campaign champion Stéphane Cyr; campaign coordinator Pierre Majeau; and President Michael Binder at the launch of the "Not Myself Today" campaign.

In June 2016, the CNSC launched the "Not Myself Today" campaign, which aims to equip all employees with additional information, tools and resources to support mental health, reduce stigma, and help build psychologically safe and supportive work environments. The activities, tools and resources that are part of this campaign focus on driving engagement and learning in the workplace. "Not Myself Today" is an initiative led by Partners for Mental Health, a national charity that engages workplaces across Canada to support mental health and employees who may be facing mental health challenges.

We hope that by starting or strengthening an existing conversation around workplace mental health, employees will feel safe and more comfortable raising issues, supporting colleagues, developing solutions and asking for the help they need. We also want to engage employees to support mental health, foster mental well-being and help build greater understanding and empathy toward those facing mental illness. We are encouraging all of our staff to do their part in tackling the stigma that exists today around mental illness and creating mentally healthy workplaces.

Reinforcing desired culture through recognition

The CNSC recognition program recognizes and honours employee and team initiatives, their contributions to the priorities and success of the CNSC and the promotion of its culture and values. This program also supports the values and ethics code for the public service.
Recognizing the contributions of CNSC employees and celebrating their successes is an integral part of how we manage our people. Under this framework, all CNSC indeterminate and term employees can be recognized.

Recognition program awards at the CNSC include:

  • Contribution Award
  • Merit Award
  • Bravo Award
  • President's Award
  • Leadership Award
  • Excellence Award
  • Kofi Crentsil Award
  • Long Service Award
  • Retirement Award

Managers and employees are encouraged to be creative in how they show appreciation and to consider and respect the preferences of those they wish to recognize.

Last year, the CNSC introduced the Excellence Award. This award comprises three different categories for which employees can be recognized: technical, creativity, and innovation and inspiration. This year, the CNSC introduced the Kofi Crentsil Award, which is named after an esteemed previous employee and awarded to CNSC employees who exemplify collaboration in their work.

International Cooperation

International Physical Protection Advisory Service mission

Last October, a team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted a two-week International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission in Canada. This proceeded both Canada's commitment at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, and the Government of Canada's request.

The IAEA created the IPPAS in 1995 to help its Member States strengthen their national security regimes. IPPAS teams provide peer advice on implementing international instruments and IAEA guidelines on the protection of nuclear and other radioactive material and associated facilities.

The IPPAS mission team – comprising 10 experts from nine nations and the IAEA – reviewed national nuclear security practices in Canada. They addressed Canada's nuclear security legislative and regulatory regime for nuclear material and facilities, as well as the security arrangements applied to the transport of nuclear material, the security of radioactive material and associated facilities and activities, and the information and computer security systems in place.

The team concluded that Canada conducts strong and sustainable nuclear security activities, which had been significantly enhanced in recent years. The mission also identified many good practices in Canada's national nuclear security regime.

Taking a leading role at the international review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety

Photo of Ramzi Jammal
Ramzi Jammal, CNSC Executive Vice-President Regulatory Operations Branch and Chief Operations Officer.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) aims to maintain a high level of safety at nuclear power plants worldwide. It sets international benchmarks for its contracting parties and requires that these parties submit national reports outlining how they are meeting their obligations. These reports undergo peer review in meetings held every three years.

Ramzi Jammal, the CNSC's Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer, was elected as the president of the seventh review meeting of the contracting parties to the CNS, which will be held in Vienna in spring 2017. As president, Mr. Jammal will lead discussions among participating countries on how to improve nuclear safety worldwide.

Strong Leadership

Strategic planning framework

We are committed to having a clear sense of the kind of organization we want the CNSC to be in the future. To fulfill our vision of being the best nuclear regulator in the world, we have developed a strategic planning framework that identifies goals as a roadmap for the way forward.

This framework defines the CNSC's goals for the coming 10 years and outlines key priorities and initiatives to enable us to achieve these goals. The intent is for this strategic roadmap to be flexible, relevant and holistic to the entire organization while also being mindful of the resources required to fulfill our mandate and maintain focus on our core work.

One of the enabling goals of this framework is to be a "competent and agile organization." The CNSC is a dynamic, flexible and highly-skilled organization that responds to an evolving workforce and industry and is supported by modern management practices and tools. To this extent, the CNSC has fostered a culture of learning, which we have embedded into our key behavioural competencies. We also support the internal movement of staff and focus our efforts on attracting and retaining new graduates to support our Workforce of the Future strategy.

Another enabling goal is the "capacity for nuclear safety."In pursuit of this goal, we are reviewing current expertise and research infrastructure – both internal and external to the CNSC – to identify and assess required capabilities, potential gaps and remedial steps. Subsequently, a mechanism will be established to ensure the CNSC expertise and research infrastructure maintains its regulatory readiness in line with the ongoing changes in the nuclear technology and operational environments.

Recognizing innovation in the community

Michelle C. Comeau HR Leadership Awards

Our HR team won two 2015 Michelle C. Comeau HR Leadership Awards: the Human Resources Professional Award and the HR Team – External Focus Award. Both recognize leadership and excellence in HR management in the federal public service.

From left to right: Michelle C. Comeau HR Leadership Award winners Gina Hearn, Lisa James, Shannon Poole and Robin Butler.

Gina Hearn, leader of the organization and classification team, won the Human Resources Professional Award, which recognizes an HR professional who has contributed to the credibility and legitimacy of the profession. She was nominated for her leadership role in the successful delivery of several complex HR initiatives such as the universal classification system, which is the CNSC job evaluation plan that reflects contemporary job evaluation practices and effectively measures and classifies CNSC positions. Gina is also being recognized for her active participation in developing a strategic workforce plan and competency profiles for the CNSC's Workforce of the Future initiative.

The HR planning and systems team won the HR Team – External Focus Award for its significant involvement in the Workforce of the Future initiative. This award recognizes a leader and team who have made an impact in their organization through an innovative design, HR project implementation, or both. The team developed a comprehensive and strategic workforce planning model aimed at ensuring the CNSC remains a competent and agile organization.

Gina and the HR planning and systems team have shown innovation, creativity and commitment in supporting the CNSC's agenda for advancing people management by effectively delivering on key strategic initiatives that will have an impact on the organization for years to come.

Innovation award

The CNSC was honoured at the eighth annual Awards of Excellence in Public Sector Financial Management with an innovation award for its financial guarantee program, which was implemented to reduce financial risk for Canadians. The awards were presented by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

From left to right: Bill Matthews, Comptroller General of Canada, with the CNSC's Pierre Souligny, Stéphane Cyr and Benoit Labelle.

All licensees for radiation devices, nuclear substances and Class II nuclear facilities are now required to have sufficient funds to safely terminate activities in the event of default, such as failure to comply with licence requirements or bankruptcy. Without a financial guarantee program, responsibility for funding and coordinating decommissioning activities would fall to the CNSC.

The CNSC worked collaboratively with licensees and private-sector partners to develop a financial instrument that would not be prohibitive for industry. Licensees pay their contributions via a portal on the CNSC website. Contributions are based on a formula that takes into account a number of factors such as the cost of disposing of or decommissioning radioactive equipment and/or sites.

Through collaboration and innovation, the finance team was able to successfully implement a robust program that contributes to the CNSC's mandate of making the nuclear industry safe for Canadians and the environment.

Through collaboration and innovation, the finance team was able to successfully implement a robust program that contributes to the CNSC's mandate of making the nuclear industry safe for Canadians and the environment.

Women in Leadership initiative

The Women in Leadership initiative is a forum for educating, inspiring and empowering women with core values, attitudes and skills that are the foundation of quality leadership. The Women in Leadership Initiative began by holding two meetings this past year with staff at all levels and from all areas of the organization, and will continue exploring this initiative over the next year.

Engaged Employees

Logo for Think Green

Greening program

The CNSC encourages a green organizational culture where "thinking green" is part of day-to-day life for employees. Leveraging the enthusiasm and expertise of our employees will help foster environmental awareness at work, at home and in the community.

The Greening Committee

Made up of volunteer employees, the CNSC Greening Committee is committed to helping our workplace operate in an environmentally responsible manner. It aims to promote and implement greener office practices.

Although the CNSC is not subject to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, our greening program is driven by an ethical obligation and our commitment to our mandate to protect the environment.

Greening program guiding principles:

  • Support the CNSC's goal of becoming an environmentally responsible leader by inspiring employees to change behaviour and demonstrate environmental leadership.
  • Encourage environmentally sustainable practices in areas such as fleet management and travel.
  • Identify priorities and recommending standards and practices for green purchasing, consumption, management and disposal.
  • Ensure green strategies and initiatives are sustainable and can be rigorously measured and reported.
  • Provide a place for employees to learn more, share ideas and help transform the CNSC into a green organization.

The Greening Committee has already implemented several green office practices and programs, including compost recycling, printer cartridge recycling, just-in-time inventory, paperless processes such as electronic pay stubs and invoice/payment, a Brita pitcher instead of water bottles at senior management meetings, and defaulted duplex printing and photocopying.

It also held several challenges throughout the year to engage employees in becoming more green. This included a plant-growing challenge and a commuter challenge.

The CNSC is committed to continuing our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and engage staff across the organization in supporting environmentally friendly initiatives and practices.

Pulse surveys and Public Service Employee Survey action plans

The CNSC believes being an employer of choice is profoundly important. In fact, it's one of our most important goals. It means that people not only want to work here but will make a deliberate choice to stay here-even when other opportunities come up. It also means the organization is offering employees careers that are truly enriching, energizing and meaningful.

In order to gauge employees' engagement and satisfaction, we regularly conduct "pulse" surveys on meaningful topics. This past year, we conducted pulse surveys on civility in the workplace and on raising issues. Following each survey, results are shared with all employees and action plans are developed.

The CNSC also developed directorate action plans as a result of the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES). We will be conducting a pulse survey to review these action plans and prepare for the 2017 PSES.

Increasing networking opportunities and integrating staff

Young Professionals Network monthly lunches

This past year, the CNSC's Young Professionals Network began hosting a lunch once or twice a month. On these occasions, employees bring their lunch and hear from a guest speaker from within the organization. Speakers have been senior-level staff, most having held positions within a few divisions of the organization. The lunches provide a forum to network as well as an opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences and advice employees have from working in various areas.

Lunch with the President

Over the years, President Binder has hosted a pizza lunch with all of the summer students at the end of their term, getting feedback on their time at the CNSC and hearing their perspective on areas for improvement. This year, with the influx of new graduates, he has invited these new recruits to lunch as well.

President Binder continues to have lunch with his managers once a year, too. At these lunches, he addresses the CNSC management as a whole and provides an additional forum to hear directly from managers regarding what they see as going well and any concerns or questions they may have.

Executive meet and greet

Several times a year, the CNSC Executive Committee – comprising President Binder, the secretariat, legal counsel and the vice-presidents – meet over coffee and muffins with new staff. All new employees have the opportunity to hear from each Executive Committee member to get a better understanding of their role within the organization. Committee members then have the opportunity to hear from the new employees, getting to know their background and where they will be working within the CNSC.

VP engagement

A few of our vice-presidents further engage with staff at all levels within their branch in various formats. Stéphane Cyr, Vice-President Corporate Services Branch and Chief Financial Officer, invites 10 to 12 staff for coffee twice a month. This is a chance for Mr. Cyr to inform staff on the current and future initiatives of the Corporate Services Branch, provide an update on initiatives in other areas of the CNSC and conduct a quick environmental scan. A roundtable at the end gives employees the opportunity to raise any issues and ask questions.

Similarly, Jason Cameron, Vice-President and Chief Communications Officer of the Regulatory Affairs Branch, conducted a series of "touch base" sessions over this past year. The purpose of these sessions is to give staff an opportunity to meet with their vice-president and share day-to-day experiences in an informal setting. Staff also have the opportunity to anonymously submit questions that will help shape the conversation. Action items are created as a result of these discussions to ensure senior management are addressing any areas of concern in a timely manner.

Administrative assistant forum

A monthly forum was developed to help the administrative assistant community learn about new initiatives, stay up to date on current procedures, and share information and best practices. The forum has become a regularly used communications tool for internal groups when promoting a new corporate initiative.

The format is simple: two or three new subjects are presented each month along with regular updates from other corporate services groups, such as the IT help desk, facilities management, administration or corporate security. The presentations and updates are followed by an open-floor discussion on best practices and finding solutions to common problems.

The presenters are allotted 15 minutes to speak, including a short question-and-answer period. The presenters are encouraged to use PowerPoint so the documentation can be posted on the CNSC's intranet.

The CNSC is proud to be sharing our Blueprint 2020 administrative assistant forum toolkit via GCpedia.

Giving back

Terry Jamieson and President Binder with Karen Owen-Whitred and Melanie Rickard, accepting the Silver Award for the CNSC's participation in GCWCC for 2015.

Last year, the CNSC rebranded its Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) to "Radiating Hope: Commission on a Mission." Led by Karen Owen-Whitred and Melanie Rickard, the CNSC had a participation rate of 72 percent and was proud to have raised more than $199,000.

Trained Experts

Leveraging our expertise and diversity

The CNSC is proud to be a diverse regulator. Diversity is embedded in our core values and practices as well as in the way we do business. The CNSC is proud to be comprised of 45.9 percent women, 18.3 percent visible minorities, 2.5 percent persons with disabilities and 2.4 percent Indigenous people.

Top 10 languages spoken
Language Number of employees
Mandarin 21
Spanish 19
Russian 16
Arabic 15
German 11
Hindi 9
Polish 7
Punjabi 7
Urdu 7
Italian 7

In the spring, the CNSC conducted a survey to find out how many and which languages employees speak. Collectively, the CNSC speaks 43 languages other than English and French at various proficiency levels. A total of 105 employees indicated they are fluently bilingual in another language, 26 have professional working proficiency and 56 have limited working proficiency. The most commonly spoken languages by CNSC employees (other than English and French) are Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and German.

CNSC employees also have diverse educational backgrounds: 13 percent have a PhD, 28 percent have a master's degree and 42 percent have a bachelor's degree. The CNSC is focused on continuous development of our trained experts and will financially support any employee who wishes to further their education outside of work hours.

Regulatory operations training program

The CNSC's regulatory operations training program aims to compile and create reference material, learning activities and assessment tools to ensure all staff and managers involved in regulatory work have the same fundamental knowledge. This program is based on the three core processes of the CNSC Management System: manage regulatory framework, manage licensing and certification, and assure compliance.

This past year, the CNSC identified the knowledge, skills and attributes required for regulatory operations officers to carry out work in operational areas. Of the 18 core knowledge areas that have been identified, work has begun on the following areas: what it means to be a regulator, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, safety and control areas, and Commission member documents.

Fresh Ideas

Renewal initiative

Like many organizations, the CNSC is facing signs of attrition. We can estimate an average of 24 retirements per year, the majority being employees at a senior-working level. Recognizing that our workforce profile must change to renew our workforce, the CNSC examined the way work can be done differently to support a structure that is able to train and absorb entry-level professionals. This resulted in the creation of 75 entry-level, two-year term positions. With a mass hiring of new graduates to fill these term positions, the CNSC's average age decreased from 46.4 to 45.5. This significant increase in term positions changed the structure of our workforce, resulting in 13.3 percent of our positions being terms. This is an increase from 8.3 percent in 2014–15 and 4.7 percent in 2013–14.

The work is interesting and always challenging. The people are friendly and engaging. Upper management is involved and encouraging of all staff and strongly aims to be the best nuclear regulator.

Scott McIntyre
Security Officer, Directorate of Security and Safeguards, hired under the REG4 renewal initiative
Chart with three circles showing the portion of indeterminate and term employees
Data for Figure
Term Utilization
  2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Term 12 27 23
Renewal 0 15 62
Student 19 20 25
Alumni 10 11 11
Total 41 73 121

When they arrived in the Training Program Evaluation Division, each REG4 took part in training that was tailored to their arrival time and availability. This included specific activities and courses they were to complete within a two-year timeframe. As a result of this approach, they quickly became competent and contributing members of our teams and found satisfaction in their work.

Thomas Manning
Special Advisor, Directorate of Safety Management

To train and develop our new employees, the CNSC encouraged all new graduates to complete an assignment in another area of the organization. We kept these assignments flexible in nature, encouraging telework for our staff located at site and regional offices, and supported awareness of the various divisions within the CNSC through reverse career fairs. Completing an assignment has allowed our new employees to gain insight into another area of the organization, furthering their understanding of the regulatory body and their technical expertise.

Through the CNSC's Young Professional Network, a mentorship program is available to all employees. All new staff are informed about this program and encouraged to take advantage of it. Building on this, many managers pair up their new graduate with a seasoned employee within their division to help coach and mentor the new employee.

Being surrounded by a supportive environment of peers and mentors has been the most enjoyable part of working with CNSC. There are numerous opportunities for me to enhance my skills, in addition to on-the-job training and experience gained on a daily basis, I'm able and encouraged to explore a variety of learning opportunities to help me grow.

Jordan Sali
Programmer Analyst, Information Management Technology Directorate, hired under the REG4 renewal initiative

Student hiring

The CNSC increased the number of summer students hired from 38 to 49 and hired a total of 23 co-op students throughout the year. Students represent an important feeder group when renewing our workforce. In fiscal year 2015–16, we hired 14 of our previous students into two-year term new graduate positions (this number is up by four from fiscal year 2014–15).

Implementing minivations

A 2015 pulse survey identified the need for innovation labs on cross-boundary collaboration as part of the Blueprint 2020 initiative. Therefore, we invited employees to partake in these working groups to identify business needs or innovative ideas for continuous improvement. This past year, we welcomed a new set of cross-divisional working teams to take the ideas generated from these innovation labs and focus on their implementation. These cross-divisional implementation teams were called minivations.

Always have and maintain a network. Be ready to be stretched, as you may not be ready for your next job or new project. It will be hard – but you'll enjoy it!

Jason Cameron
Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs Branch and Chief Communications Officer

Speed-networking events

Stemming from the innovation labs, employees identified a need for more opportunities to informally connect with leaders across the organization. Over the past year, the CNSC held two speed-networking events where staff had the opportunity to speak directly with senior management. In their discussions, many senior managers highlighted the importance of skills such as leadership, adaptability and flexibility.

People seated around a table

Water-cooler meetings

In addition to mandated weekly meetings and skip-level meetings, informal directorate-wide water-cooler (or stand-up) meetings have been implemented and are proving beneficial. These informal short meetings are usually led by a director general. No formal agenda is presented and no meeting minutes are prepared. These meetings are optional for employees to attend and serve as a way to increase information sharing and collaboration within and outside a directorate. They also ensure directorate staff are aware of and up-to-date on important activities and events occurring within and outside of the directorate, promote ongoing information sharing and team building within the directorate, and provide a safe space for employees to pose questions to management and share important emerging issues and events.

Coaching circles

A coaching circle is a peer-mentoring group that increases a participant's capacity to resolve individual issues through collective wisdom. The working group held its first coaching circle in the fall, leveraging peer mentoring to help people learn from each other and find meaningful solutions to the problems they are facing. Participants brought a meaningful issue to the circle and, by using powerful coaching questions, peers who share similar experiences and are wrestling with the same challenges coach them to find their own answers. Coaching questions helped individuals uncover their own insights, get to the root of issues and see links between them. The circles also provided space to question old assumptions and see new possibilities so that participants can take action to produce different outcomes. The next coaching circle is scheduled for January 2017.

Continuous Development

The CNSC is focused on employees' continued development. During fiscal year 2015–16, the average number of learning days increased from 12.7 to 14.7. The CNSC is continuously scanning the internal and external environment to determine the need for more in-house courses. To ensure continuity in our mandate during a mass period of attrition, the CNSC has recently introduced a knowledge transfer course as well as an emotional intelligence course. These courses strengthen employees' understanding of their communication styles and self-awareness.

Building internal capability

The CNSC is committed to ensuring a highly flexible workforce. Fostering internal movement builds internal capability, better preparing employees for future demands. The CNSC encourages and supports employees in further developing their careers by gaining experience in various areas of the organization.

Over the past year, the CNSC has had a total of 384 internal movements:

  • 108 permanent
  • 276 temporary
    (221 actings, 55 assignments)

Key behavioural competencies

In its ongoing quest to be the best nuclear regulator, the CNSC has defined the key behavioural competencies that underpin its organizational performance. These expected behaviours form the fabric of how we regulate, recruit, learn and develop.

The CNSC began by reviewing the four core competencies identified by the Public Service Commission. Wanting to develop something that resonated with our culture at the CNSC, we held focus groups comprising more than 150 staff from across the organization to help validate new competencies that encompass those identified by the Public Service Commission as well as our mission and values.

This resulted in four key behavioural competencies that all CNSC employees are expected to exhibit. Those competencies are outlined below and described in further detail in annex A.

  • Live it: Model the CNSC values.
  • Own it: Be accountable and achieve results.
  • Build it: Collaborate effectively with others.
  • Learn it: Commit to your professional growth and personal leadership.

The competencies were designed to create a flexible, agile and high-performing organization with the capability to achieve business objectives.

The CNSC will gradually embed these four key behaviours in all HR practices to ensure staff deliberately and consistently recruit new talent; engage them in learning and development; and recognize, assess and award performance. Staff will also learn to use common language – with an emphasis on clarity and purpose – when fulfilling these responsibilities.

Career partnership initiative

At the CNSC, we recognize that effective career management requires a partnership between the employee, their manager and the organization. The organization must create the opportunities, the manager must help the employee develop, and the employee must identify opportunities that interest them. That is why we have recently realigned our Human Resources Directorate to include a Resourcing and Career Management Division. Part of this division will be focusing on providing tools and resources to managers and employees to help guide effective talent management discussions and to help employees map out their careers.

Workforce planning and organizational design

Last year, directorates created business-unit workforce plans, projecting their workforce profiles out to 2025–26. This year, these plans are being reviewed by each directorate, who will then develop detailed two-year staffing forecasts and having meaningful talent management discussions. Moving forward, these staffing forecasts will be reviewed on a quarterly basis, allowing management to work efficiently and effectively with HR, anticipate future needs and proactively responding.

During these workforce-planning discussions, attention will be placed on identifying critical positions. It also provides management the opportunity to review their workforce profile and adjust how we do work to meet demands now and into the future. Recognizing that the CNSC faces significant attrition at the management level, and predicting that it takes eight to ten years to develop these leadership capabilities, we are focusing on deliberately stratifying job levels to support competency development of staff at all levels of the organization.

Field Expertise

The CNSC is proud to have trained experts working diligently toward our vision of being the best nuclear regulator. This past year, CNSC staff:

  • conducted 1,450 inspections for nearly 2,400 licences held by almost 1,700 licensees
  • issued 805 export and 162 import licences for nuclear substances, prescribed equipment and information
  • issued 92 licensing decisions for new transport licences, revised transport licences and transport certificates for package design and for special-form radioactive material
  • issued 573 licensing decisions related to new certificates and revised certificates for radiation devices and other prescribed equipment
  • managed 3,071 CNSC certificates held by persons across Canada who are key operating personnel for power and research reactors, health physicists and radiation safety officers, and industrial radiography exposure device operators
  • issued 23 orders to specific licensees using nuclear substances and five administrative monetary penalties

The CNSC is continuing to build its field expertise by exposing new graduates to inspections, environmental sampling and kinds of field work. By observing or participating in these activities, new employees have the opportunity to see first-hand how their work relates in the field and make meaningful contributions toward our mandate to protect health, safety, security and the environment.

Independent Environmental Monitoring Program

Environmental Program Officer Henry Zhang takes a sample during the IEMP campaign near Deloro in June.

The CNSC's Independent Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) has been collecting environmental samples near licensed facilities since 2012. The objective is to independently verify that the public and environment around the facilities are safe. The IEMP is separate from, but complementary to, the CNSC's existing compliance verification programs.

The 2016 sampling campaign was successful. CNSC staff collected samples in the vicinity of MDS Nordion, the Deloro mine, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (Toronto), McClean Lake and Tri-University Meson Facility and the areas surrounding Point Lepreau Generating Station, the Gentilly-2 facility, and the Bruce A and Bruce B Nuclear Generating Stations.

The success of this CNSC-wide initiative can be attributed to strong teamwork and collaboration throughout the organization. Spearheaded by the Directorate of Environmental and Radiation Protection and Assessment, the IEMP is implemented in collaboration with – and continued commitment and support from – the Regulatory Operations Branch, the Strategic Communications Directorate and the Information Management and Technology Directorate.

The IEMP has been an excellent program that better enables us to independently demonstrate to members of the public and Aboriginal groups that there are no adverse environmental effects surrounding the facilities that we regulate. It has been very useful to show people during outreach activities and the feedback has been very positive

Jeff Stevenson
Senior Power Reactor Site Inspector, Bruce Site Office
CNSC staff on an IEMP sampling campaign around the Gentilly-2 facility in Bécancour, Quebec.


In 2016, the CNSC continued its focus on "keeping it real" by stressing the importance of identifying and proceeding with improvements that are within its area of control. Blueprint 2020 is weaved into the fabric of our organization and engrained in the way we do things, being incorporated into initiatives across the CNSC.

Looking ahead, we will continue our increased efforts on workplace wellness with a strong focus on mental health awareness. We will also continue to target students and new graduates, ensuring we have a capable workforce to meet current and anticipated future demands. We will continue our efforts in modernizing how we work in all areas of the organization, encouraging innovation and continuously improving while striving to grow the best nuclear regulator in the world.

Annex A – Key Behavioural Competencies

To Be The Best Nuclear Regulator In The World, All CNSC Employees Are Expected To:

Live It

Model The CNSC Values

Respect - Demonstrate that you value the rights, responsibilities and contribution of all stakeholders.

Integrity - Act with honesty, transparency and fairness in all your decisions and actions.

Service - Serve Canadians and our government to the best of your abilities.

Excellence - Demonstrate professionalism and dedication in all that you say and do.

Responsibility - Use public resources responsibly in a manner that maintains public trust and confidence in the CNSC.

Safety - Recognize the importance of safety as an overriding consideration in your daily work.

Own It

Be Accountable & Achieve Results

Translate direction into concrete work activities.

Establish a clear plan of action to accomplish work based on defined business priorities.

Consider relevant sources of information before formulating a view, opinion or making a decision.

Recognize and articulate risks, and act accordingly.

Be responsible and accountable for your decisions, actions and advice.

Stay up to date on team goals, work processes and performance objectives.

Build It

Collaborate Effectively With Others

Listen actively and ask open questions to learn and understand.

Build trusting relationships by working collaboratively across boundaries to achieve results.

Identify and resolve differences in personal and professional opinion.

Acknowledge and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of others.

Communicate clearly and concisely, adjusting to the situation and audience.

Exercise informal leadership: empower others to achieve common goals.

Share your knowledge and best practices.

Learn It

Commit To Your Professional Growth & Personal Leadership

Recognize strengths and seek opportunities for self-improvement.

Demonstrate flexibility and openness in the face of change.

Maintain and develop your technical and professional expertise.

Analyze and learn from successes and setbacks.

Have the courage to be innovative and creative: question status quo and seek new ways of doing things.

Demonstrate curiosity in the pursuit of a wide range of learning experiences.

Page details

Date modified: