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Decisions by designated officers

In Canada, licensing decisions for the following types of nuclear facilities are made by the Commission:

  • Class I nuclear facilities, such as nuclear power plants and fuel manufacturing facilities
  • Class IB facilities, like particle accelerators
  • uranium mines and mills

For other licence applications, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act allows the Commission to designate certain CNSC staff to carry out specific licensing and regulatory actions. Staff who are granted this decision-making authority are referred to as designated officers (DOs).

The Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that operates at arm’s length from the nuclear industry. Like the Commission, the CNSC’s 35 DOs demonstrate independence and procedural fairness. With their extensive knowledge, regulatory training and operational experience, DOs are well qualified to make decisions on behalf of the Commission.

DOs are a key part of the CNSC's licensing and compliance framework: Through DOs, the organization is able to handle the approximate 1,800 licences and certificates that need to be reviewed, monitored and enforced each year.

Licensing and certification decisions made by DOs

DOs carry out licensing and certification decisions for various activities; for example:

  • the use of nuclear substances and radiation devices
  • the operation of Class II nuclear facilities, including medical, cancer therapy and research facilities
  • import and export of controlled nuclear substances, equipment, or information
  • the certification of prescribed equipment, which includes the certification of transport packages, teletherapy machines, and lower energy medical and linear accelerators
  • personnel certification, including the certification of exposure device operators, Class I nuclear facility personnel, and Class II radiation safety officers
  • activities pertaining to waste nuclear substances in amounts below the threshold for the Class IB facility definition

Rigorous reviews

DO decisions are based on rigorous reviews performed by CNSC staff, who verify if the applicant would meet regulatory requirements. After completing their evaluations, CNSC staff prepare designed officer documents – which include technical and regulatory information, conclusions and recommendations – to help inform DO licensing decisions.

The IAEA’s International Regulatory Review Service mission has recognized the CNSC’s DO program as robust, effective and efficient.

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