Communicating with Canadians: A Priority at the CNSC

Between April 2015 and March 2016, the CNSC:

  • conducted 186 outreach activities
  • held 10 public hearings and meetings
  • awarded more than $100,000 to 18 recipients through the Participant Funding Program
  • welcomed over 262,009 visitors to its website
  • received 1,275,783 pageviews of its website
  • answered over 1,508 public inquiries
  • published 16 scientific abstracts on its website

Social media presence (English and French as of November 2016)

  • over 2,768 page likes on Facebook
  • over 868 followers on Twitter
  • over 3,401 subscribers on YouTube
  • over 390 videos, which have garnered 833,859+  views

An important part of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) mandate is to disseminate objective scientific, technical and regulatory information to the public. The CNSC fulfills this objective with a diverse range of tools and tactics.

One such way to disseminate information to the public is by engaging directly with stakeholders in meaningful dialogues on a range of issues, such as relicensing and waste, and by reaching out to new audiences to build their knowledge of the CNSC and its regulatory mandate. Travelling from coast to coast to coast, CNSC staff often visit Canadians in their communities to answer questions on nuclear sector regulation.

Another way the CNSC shares its information with the world is by highlighting the work of its experts. CNSC’s science and engineering specialists deliver technical papers and presentations about nuclear safety and the nuclear regulator role at conferences, seminars, technical meetings and workshops held both in Canada and around the world.

In fact, technical articles written by CNSC experts have been published in a broad range of peer-reviewed journals. Abstracts of scientific and technical papers or journal articles, and electronic copies of presentations delivered by CNSC management and staff are published on the CNSC website.

This ongoing dialogue is important to increase public understanding and trust in the CNSC’s role of regulating the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment.

Electronic media

To make our information more easily accessible, the CNSC has implemented several innovative tools in electronic media, including CNSC Online – a series of interactive online learning modules. Dedicated web pages for educators, which include fun and interesting educational tools and resources aimed at youth, are also offered on the CNSC website.

In February 2014, the CNSC launched an improved website, sporting a different look and simplified structure, based on our top regulated activities.

WATCH: What is Radiation?

What is Radiation?

To keep the public up to date with the CNSC’s activities, it sends out emails to subscribers. Anyone is able to subscribe to receive emails about CNSC regulatory actions, public hearing and meeting dates, participant funding opportunities, and many other updates.

Over the years, the CNSC has improved its website, creating a simplified structure that is both informative and intuitive. These efforts help make all of its information more accessible to the public. In fact, between April 2015 and March 2016, the CNSC welcomed over 262,000 visitors to its website with over 1,275,750 page views.

Social media

The CNSC also continues to improve its communications to the public through the use of its social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

As Canadians continue to change how they consume information, the CNSC continues to improve how it disseminates information. For instance, all of its social media platforms are geared for sharing information with wider audiences and engaging users more directly.

Facebook allows the CNSC to share stories, educational resources and facts on nuclear safety. Twitter is used to quickly share the latest news and updates from the CNSC, while the CNSC’s YouTube channel shares video content, including Commission proceedings. These are just some of the many uses for the CNSC’s social media tools.

Using these tools, the CNSC is able to reach out to an even more diverse audience in a variety of ways. Content is able to be shared in an easily understandable way that is transparent and accessible to the public.

Funding to encourage public participation

The CNSC continues to provide financial assistance through its Participant Funding Program. Established in 2011, this program enhances the participation of the public, Aboriginal peoples and other stakeholders in Commission hearings for major nuclear facilities by providing funding to help those who would like to participate in the Commission’s public hearings. The funding can be used to conduct research or help finance transportation to make a presentation at a hearing. Between April 2015 and March 2016, more than $100,000 in funding was awarded to 18 recipients to participate in regulatory proceedings for 7 different projects. Of those 18 recipients, 12 were Aboriginal groups or organizations that received over $68,000 in funding for their participation in CNSC regulatory processes.

Disseminating information – a shared responsibility

While the CNSC continually strives to be a leader in public communication on nuclear safety, building trust is everyone's responsibility.

The nuclear industry and licensees must provide information to their stakeholders about their facilities’ activities and safety records.

The CNSC's requirements are captured in regulatory document RD/GD-99.3, Public Information and Disclosure, which clarifies the licensees’ responsibility to proactively inform the public and stakeholders of daily activities, as well as disclose any event or incident that may occur. 

This helps promote industry transparency while building productive relationships between licensees and the public. The CNSC enforces RD/GD-99.3 by inspecting licensees’ public information plans and activities. If necessary, the CNSC may use recommendations, Administrative Monetary Penalties, and Orders to ensure regulatory compliance.

As an integral part of the CNSC’s mandate, talking to Canadians is a crucial priority. In fact, the CNSC communicates in much the same way as it ensures safety: that is with a rigorous, multifaceted, modern, and effective approach. By using the many tools and tactics available to the CNSC, every effort is made to engage with and talk to Canadians.