Participate in a public Commission hearing

The Commission public hearing process is governed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Rules of Procedure (the Rules) under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

This page provides general information about how you can observe and participate in CNSC public hearings.

Observe or actively participate

Attend in person

Members of the public are welcome to attend public Commission hearings. You do not need to give advance notice or request to attend. The location information can be found in the notice of public hearing.

Watch online

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) offers online videos (webcasts) of its public proceedings. You can tune in live on the day of a hearing or watch the archived webcasts at a later date. You can also follow the highlights of the proceedings live on the CNSC Twitter page.

Participate in a public hearing

Members of the public, Indigenous groups and other stakeholders who have an interest or expertise in the matter being considered, or who have information that may be useful to the Commission in coming to a decision can formally participate as intervenors in public hearings. Interventions may be made in either of Canada's official languages, via either a written submission or a written submission accompanied by an oral presentation during the hearing.

The Commission may also accommodate participation in its proceedings by teleconference or videoconference. Arrangements for remote participation must be made through the Commission Secretariat.

The CNSC has a Participant Funding Program (PFP) to assist members of the public, Indigenous groups and other stakeholders in bringing value-added information to the Commission. Learn more about PFP funding opportunities, eligibility and the PFP application.

Hearings that deal with subjects that are administrative in nature or that address confidential matters are not open for public participation. Check the notice of hearing to verify if the hearing allows public participation.

How to participate

Anyone wishing to intervene at a hearing must submit a request to participate to the Commission Secretariat by using the online request form, by sending an email to the Commission Secretariat or by submitting a request via fax or mail.

Submitting a request to participate does not automatically grant intervenor status. Pursuant to rule 19 of the Rules, the request must be accepted by the Commission. The Secretariat will inform you of the Commission's decision.

Request to participate

The request to participate must include:

  • the date and subject of the hearing
  • a written submission of the comments to be presented to the Commission
  • a statement of whether you wish to intervene by way of written submission only or by way of written submission and oral presentation
  • your name, address and telephone number

The information you will need to complete your request to participate is available in the notice of public hearing. Please note that your intervention should be specific to the matter being discussed at the public hearing. Please also note that all submissions are made available to the public. Personal information, such as address and telephone number, is essential for linking the submission to its author. If you wish to ensure the confidentiality of your personal information, please submit it on a separate page.

Your request, which includes your written submission, must be received by the Commission Secretariat by the date indicated in the notice of public hearing.

Acknowledgement and confirmation

The Commission Secretariat will acknowledge receipt of your request to intervene, and will later confirm if your intervention has been accepted by the Commission.

If your request is accepted, your intervention will be given a Commission member document (CMD) reference number and will be added to the public record. Submissions from the public, CNSC staff and the applicant are publicly available on the CNSC website.

Interventions

Participation in a public hearing is called an intervention, whether done by written submission only or by both a written submission and an oral presentation.

By written submission only

Commission members read all written submissions before a public hearing. During the hearing, Commission members have an opportunity to raise any specific concerns or questions they might have for CNSC staff or the applicant.

By both written submission and oral presentation

Oral presentations are not possible without a written submission. These are summaries of the key points of a written submission. The length of each oral presentation is usually limited to 10 minutes, followed by an opportunity for the Commission members to ask questions. Commission members will have read written submissions beforehand, and the question period will help to ensure a clear understanding of the matters raised. There is no time limit for the question period.

Criteria for oral presentations

Rule 19 of the Rules states that the Commission may permit interventions "in the manner and to the extent that the Commission considers will enable it to determine the matter before it in a fair, informal and expeditious manner". Therefore, it is for the Commission to determine the format of interventions – in writing only or in writing and orally – that will best assist in its decision, and that will ensure an efficient, expeditious and fair process. The Commission can accept a written submission, but deny a request to make an oral presentation.

If you wish to give an oral presentation, please include the following information in your request to participate. Please note that this list is non-exhaustive and is meant to assist you in filing your request:

  • your specific interest in the matter
  • your expertise in the matter, or the specific information you can bring to the Commission's consideration
  • your unique perspective
  • the value your oral submission would add to the Commission's consideration of issues
  • how the Commission would benefit from an oral exchange on the issues you wish to raise and the questions the Commission may wish to ask hearing participants
  • if you have received participant funding to present a submission to the Commission

Here are some additional points that you may wish to consider when submitting requests for oral presentations:

  • If requests to intervene reflect a letter-writing campaign, the Commission will generally consider them as written interventions only.
  • If several interventions that express the same views are received, the Commission may consider them as written interventions only to avoid repetitious information being presented during the public hearing.
  • If several interventions expressing the same views and common interests are received, the Commission may consider selecting a single representative to present on behalf of a group of intervenors.
  • If interventions are partially out of scope and contain some information that may be useful to the Commission in coming to a decision, these may be considered as written interventions only.

If granted oral intervenor status, you may give your presentation yourself or have a representative of your choice present for you.

Notices of hearings and agendas

Notices of public hearing are available on the CNSC website and sent to CNSC email subscribers at least 60 days before a public hearing. When there is no public participation, notices of hearing are only available on the CNSC website.

Notices of hearing include information about:

  • the kind of hearing (a one-part or two-part public hearing, or a closed session without public participation)
  • the purpose of the hearing
  • when and where the hearing will be held
  • the form of intervention, if interventions are invited (written submission only or both written submission and oral presentation on the day of the hearing)
  • deadlines for submitting requests to participate to the Commission Secretariat if public intervention is permitted

Public hearing agendas are available on the CNSC website before the public hearing. The hearing agenda lists the time when the matters are scheduled to be heard and the order of the interventions. Note that the Commission Secretariat sets the order in which the interventions will be heard.

To receive an email when opportunities to participate or public hearing agendas and decisions are posted, register for the CNSC's email subscription service.

Confidential filings

For information on confidential filings, please see the Guidance Document on Confidential Filings. This document establishes uniform procedures for filing confidential materials for all licensing applications and related matters that come before the Commission or a designated officer.

Contact

For further information about participating in a public hearing or other Commission information, contact the Commission Secretariat.
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