Cost Recovery Advisory Group
Cost Recovery Advisory Group
Minutes of Meeting
October 9, 2003
Members in Attendance:
Canadian Nuclear Association
Nuclear Reactors and Heavy Water Plants
Allan Webster - Ontario Power Generation
John Jarrell - Cameco Corporation
Nuclear Substances and Prescribed Equipment
John Dyer - Nomad Inspection (industrial radiography)
Gérard Landry - ACLE (industrial radiography & gauges)
John Vanier - NorskeCanada (gauges)
Trevor Beniston (for Stuart Hunt) - Stuart Hunt & Associates (servicing, calibration, etc.)
Gary Stuart - NDT Management Association (industrial radiography)
Jim Clarke – Chair
Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Crystal Pace, Principal
Introduction and Opening Remarks
J. Clarke opened the meeting. The proposed meeting agenda was approved.
Looking Back – CRAG Comments on the Process to Amend the Cost Recovery Fees Regulations
Members were invited to provide feedback on the process CNSC undertook to amend CNSC Cost Recovery Fees Regulations. Members expressed an overall satisfaction with the consultation process used. They felt that it had been worthwhile and that their input had been considered. While an overall satisfaction was expressed, some of the members voiced the following concerns/suggestions:
- It was suggested that it would have been useful if more time had been spent on educating stakeholders on the government policies that guide CNSC (particularly in regard to the public/private split) and not as much time spent on accounting mechanisms;
- It was suggested that more time should have been spent on cost controls, not the actual costs; and
- It was felt that money could have been saved by not having a translation service in western Canada for the consultative meetings.
Action: All CRAG Members: Members were invited to submit to the chair of CRAG, J. Clarke, any after thoughts. This type of feedback will allow the CNSC to improve its future processes.
Performance Standards Update
D. Chaput made a presentation on Measuring and Managing Performance.
There was general support shown for the approach CNSC is taking to continue its implementation of performance standards. It was remarked that this system of measuring and managing performance appears to be very similar to the ISO, which works very well, but has the pitfall of having a lot of paper work associated with it. CNSC recognizes that a balance must be struck with the amount of paper work.
Since CNSC and the licensee both have an interest in achieving the final outcome of having safe and secure nuclear facilities and processes, there were concerns that some of CNSC regulatory activities could duplicate “safety related activities” already conducted by licensees. Some members indicated that this would leave them feeling that they are paying twice. CNSC responded by saying that the licensees are ultimately responsible for safety and that the CNSC as the regulator will only take on enough oversight activities in order to obtain assurance that health, safety, security and the environment are protected. This must be done while not putting undue burden on the licensee.
When it was mentioned that CNSC had conducted a review of the process used for the recent licensing actions for Rabbit Lake and the Bruce, it was suggested that licensees input be sought for future reviews of this type.
Environmental Assessment (EA) Process Update
K. Pereira made a presentation on CNSC responsibilities under the CEAA (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency). CNSC is in the process of implementing improvements to the EA process and has prepared a draft EA guideline template, which is now available.
Action: K. Pereira: There was a question as to what extent the licensee can rely on or use EA information in the licensing process. This question will be taken back to licensing staff to be addressed.
It was suggested a workshop on EA be organized with representatives from the CNSC, licensees and NGOs participating.
Action: J. Clarke: It was recognized that the idea of an EA workshop has merit and will be pursued.
There still remains some confusion on when/ where the public input comes from. It is felt that the public input process could be made more efficient.
Risk Based Resource Allocation
K. Pereira made a presentation on the Use of Risk Information for Allocation of Regulatory Effort – Phase II.
Support was expressed for risk based resource allocation.
Action: K.Pereira: To get back to Allan Webster on the timeline for power reactors.
Update on OAG Financial Audit of Costing Methodology
Crystal Pace, from the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) made a presentation on CNSC Compliance Audit.
Members were pleased that CNSC had requested an audit. They found this to be very positive.
The private members bill C-212 (an act respecting user fees), is not expected to affect the audit, as bill C-212 will not become law unless it receives Royal Assent. As of now, the CNSC Cost Recovery Fee Regulations is the only relevant legislation that pertains to this audit.
Members indicated that there are concerns about the hourly rate, and what overhead expenditures go into calculating it.
Crystal Pace indicated that while the hourly rate would have been addressed as part of the audit, more attention will be paid to it given the concerns raised by CRAG members.
Action: J. Clarke: OAG report will be made available to CRAG members
Action: All CRAG Members: Crystal Pace invited members to feed comments and inputs back to her through Kelly Gillis.
Regulatory Activity Plans
D. Chaput made a presentation on the development and content of Regulatory Activity Plans (04-05).
There was strong support expressed for CNSC’s ongoing development of Regulatory Activity Plans. It was mentioned that the activity plans with timelines are greatly appreciated. There was an interest expressed in having future discussions on “planned vs actuals” in terms of both activities and budgets.
K. Gillis made a presentation on CNSC Financial Update.
Some interest in the cost restraints for the Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) project was expressed. It was confirmed that if a similar type of special project request was made by the private sector, it would be handled similarly (i.e. would involve a Treasury Board submission).
The possibility of a compliance factor less than one, was identified as an item for ongoing discussion. It was confirmed that the very earliest a compliance factor could change from a one would be April 2005.
Dispute Resolution Mechanism
K. Gillis outlined the single dispute that has been received. The fact that only one dispute has been received to date was thought to be a very positive indicator by members.
Briefing on the New External Charging Policy
K. Gillis made an overview presentation on the New Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) External Charging Policy & Bill C-212.
A member said that he has heard that industry in general (wider than nuclear) is considerably disappointed with the new government policy. Apparently, it is hoped that Bill C-212 will fill in the gaps, covering any deficiencies in the policy.
CNSC is monitoring the status of Bill C-212 and currently examining how its requirements could potentially impact CNSC’s cost recovery regime (e.g. Bill C-212’s requirement for an independent dispute mechanism).
A member raised the importance of C-205 (a disallowance procedure for regulations,) another unrelated private members’ bill. This was acknowledged by CNSC.
Future Role of the CRAG
The general feeling was that the CRAG was a positive mechanism for information sharing. Members are interested in cost recovery and they would like to stay informed. It was felt that CRAG meetings give industry the confidence that they are being handled fairly and in line with other tribunals. The overall view was that an annual meeting in the fall would be appropriate to do a performance review of the previous year, as well as projections for the following year. A suggestion was made that CRAG meetings could be set around a hearing date, so that at least some licensees would already be in town. Meetings would:
- serve to look back over the past year and to present projections for the next year,
- provide a brief program review which would outline any changes, successes/failures,
- serve to be a means by which members bring licensee feedback to CNSC, and
- provide a summary of CNSC’s interaction with Treasury Board for the members information.
For future CRAG meetings, attempts will be made to have meeting information made available to members before the meeting, to allow members to review it before attending.
It was confirmed that the 04/05 Regulatory Activity Plans are in the process of being finalized and will be sent out to licensees mid-November.
A member gave positive feedback on the latest invoices received.
Action: J. Clarke: To provide John Vanier with a list of all CRAG members (A list will be kept current on our website).
Action: J. Clarke: To provide John Vanier with a list of all the licensees he is representing.
A general comment was made that too many acronyms without any definitions were used at this meeting.