Date: 20220609  
Docket: T-228-21  
Citation: 2022 FC 849  
Ottawa, Ontario, June 9, 2022  
PRESENT: The Honourable Mr. Justice Mosley  
BETWEEN:  
CITIZENS AGAINST RADIOACTIVE  
NEIGHBOURHOODS  
Applicant  
and  
BWXT NUCLEAR ENERGY CANADA INC  
Respondent  
JUDGMENT AND REASONS  
I.  
Overview  
[1]  
This is a case where community interests are in conflict with those of a business subject  
to a regulatory regime designed to protect the public. The question before the Court is whether  
the regulatory body responsible for administering the regime failed to discharge its duties  
properly in rendering a decision about the operations of the company. The test the Court must  
Page: 2  
apply is not whether the Court agrees with the decision but whether it met the legal standard of  
reasonableness.  
[2]  
The Applicant, Citizens Against Radioactive Neighbourhoods, seeks judicial review of a  
decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission [Commission] renewing BWXT Nuclear  
Energy Canada Inc.’s [Respondent] licence to operate two nuclear facilities in Toronto and  
Peterborough, Ontario. The Applicant argues that the Commission’s decision was unlawful and  
unreasonable on account of the licence conditions attached to the production of uranium dioxide  
fuel pellets in the Peterborough facility, which they deem contrary to statutory and regulatory  
requirements.  
[3]  
For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that the decision was lawful and  
reasonable. As a result, the application for judicial review is dismissed.  
II.  
Facts  
[4]  
The Applicant is an unincorporated non-profit organization, based in Peterborough, and  
established in spring 2019 in response to the Respondent’s intention to request a ten-year licence  
renewal from the Commission which would permit the production of uranium dioxide fuel  
pellets at the Peterborough facility. Previously, the pellets were produced at the Respondent’s  
premises in Toronto and installed in fuel bundles at the Peterborough plant. The Respondent  
sought approval of its licence renewal with conditions that would permit it to consolidate the  
operation at one location, possibly Peterborough, for business reasons.  
Page: 3  
[5]  
The Applicant was an active participant in the review of the Respondent’s licence  
renewal application and made numerous written and oral submissions to the Commission. The  
Applicant’s membership incudes local residents, parents of children who currently attend or  
formerly attended an elementary school adjacent to the Peterborough facility, and individuals  
living in proximity to the plant.  
[6]  
The Respondent is a corporation that owns and operates nuclear fuel manufacturing  
facilities in Toronto, Peterborough, and Arnprior. Prior to 2016, the Toronto and Peterborough  
facilities were operated by GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. The Commission transferred  
the operating licence for these facilities to the Respondent following its acquisition of that  
company. The original plant, which now houses the Respondent’s operation in Peterborough,  
was apparently built in 1892. It is not clear from the record whether the area was then a  
residential community or that it became one thereafter.  
[7]  
The Commission is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal, court of record and regulator  
established pursuant to s 8(1) of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, SC 1997, c 9 [NSCA]. It is  
statutorily mandated to regulate the development, production, use and possession of nuclear  
energy and nuclear substances in order to prevent unreasonable risk to the environment and to  
the health and safety of persons: NSCA, s 9(a)(i). The Commission is a specialized body with  
extensive technical expertise at its disposal: Greenpeace Canada v Canada (Attorney General),  
2014 FC 463 at para 233 [Greenpeace FC].  
Page: 4  
[8]  
On November 2, 2018, the Respondent applied [Licence Application] to the Commission  
for a ten-year renewal of its Nuclear Fuel Facility Operating Licence for its two Class IB  
facilities in Toronto and Peterborough, Ontario. The Respondent’s existing licence [2010  
Licence] was granted in 2010 to GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Canada Inc. for a ten-year term  
expiring on December 31, 2020. That licence was transferred to the Respondent in December  
2016 following the Respondent’s acquisition of the company. The 2010 Licence amalgamated  
the Toronto and Peterborough facilities into a single licence, allowing the production of uranium  
dioxide fuel pellets at the Toronto facility and fuel bundle assemblage at the Peterborough  
facility.  
[9]  
Pelleting operations consist of the production of natural and depleted uranium dioxide  
(UO2) pellets, which are then used together with zircalloy tubes to assemble fuel bundles for  
nuclear power reactors.  
[10] In its Licence Application, the Respondent sought the Commission’s authorization to  
conduct commercial fuel pelleting operations at the Peterborough facility. These operations were  
previously limited to only the Toronto facility under the 2010 Licence. The Peterborough facility  
is located in a residential area of downtown Peterborough and is immediately adjacent to an  
elementary school, Prince of Wales Public School.  
[11] In March 2020, the Commission held a five-day public hearing with two days in Toronto  
and three days in Peterborough. The Commission heard from the Respondent, the Applicant, and  
248 interveners.  
Page: 5  
[12] In support of its request to commence pelleting operations in Peterborough, the  
Respondent submitted an environmental risk assessment [ERA] to the Commission. This ERA  
determined that both the estimated emissions and associated risks of consolidating the operations  
of the Peterborough and Toronto facilities at the Peterborough facility would be low. The ERA  
showed that the maximum estimated annual effective dose at the Peterborough facility if  
pelleting operations were to be transferred would remain below the public annual dose limit of 1  
mSv/y: Licence Decision at para 262.  
III.  
Decision under Review  
[13] In its Licence Decision dated December 18, 2020, the Commission renewed the  
Respondent’s licence for a period of ten years pursuant to s 24 of the NSCA and severed the  
licence into two separate facility-specific licences for the Respondent’s Toronto and  
Peterborough facilities. The renewed facility-specific licences, FFL-3621.00/2030 for the  
Toronto facility [Toronto Licence] and FFL-3620.00/2030 for the Peterborough facility  
[Peterborough Licence], were validated from January 1, 2021 until December 31, 2030. The  
Licence Decision totals 486 paragraphs and addresses several topics that are not in contention in  
these proceedings.  
[14] Central to this case is the decision of the Commission, by a majority of four-to-one, to  
authorize the Respondent to produce uranium dioxide fuel pellets at its Peterborough, Ontario  
facility, subject to three licence conditions, or hold pointsspecific to the Peterborough  
Licence:  
Page: 6  
Licence Condition 15.1 requires the Respondent to submit and implement an  
updated environmental monitoring program at the Peterborough facility prior  
to the commencement of fuel pellet production: Licence Decision at para 470.  
Licence Condition 15.2 requires the Respondent to submit a final  
commissioning report related to production of fuel pellets that is acceptable to  
the Commission, prior to the commencement of commercial fuel pellet  
production at the Peterborough facility: Licence Decision at para 471.  
Licence Condition 15.3 stipulates that the production of fuel pellets shall be  
conducted at either the Toronto facility or at the Peterborough facility, but not  
at both facilities: Licence Decision at para 472.  
[15] One dissenting Commission Member, Dr. S. Demeter, held that the Respondent’s request  
to conduct commercial uranium dioxide fuel pelleting operations at the Peterborough facility  
should be denied, and that pelleting operations should remain only in Toronto.  
[16] All five members of the Commission agreed that if the Respondent transferred its  
pelleting operations to Peterborough, “the health and safety of persons and of the environment  
would remain adequately protected as emission levels would remain low”: Licence Decision at  
para 443. The Commission also found that the Respondent’s Licence Application included  
information that was required by the Class I Nuclear Facilities Regulations, SOR/2000-204  
[Class I Regulations]: Licence Decision at paras 45, 59-60, 71, 90, 114, 128, 169, 186, 304, 307,  
315, 324, 332, 399, 412, 424.  
Page: 7  
[17] The Commission majority held that the Respondent is qualified pursuant to s 24(4) of the  
NSCA to conduct pelleting operations in Peterborough. Having found that the public effective  
dose, the air uranium dioxide releases and the effluent uranium dioxide releases are and would  
remain well below regulatory and licence limits, the Commission majority was satisfied that  
pelleting operations would be adequately safe at either the Toronto or the Peterborough facility:  
Licence Decision at para 444.  
[18] The dissenting Commission Member did not express an opinion on the qualification of  
the Respondent to conduct pelleting operations in Peterborough. Rather, the dissenting  
Commission Member held that if the safety case can be met for either the Toronto or  
Peterborough facility, the request to allow pelleting in the Peterborough facility needs to be  
analyzed through the lenses of the “as low as reasonably achievable” [ALARA] principle, the  
justification principle, the precautionary principle and the relative risk of pelleting in Toronto  
versus Peterborough: Licence Decision at para 445. The majority and dissenting Commission  
Member differed in their analyses of all of these considerations.  
A. ALARA principle  
[19] In his analysis of the ALARA principle, the dissenting Commission Member considered  
social factors such as equity and social trust to conclude that the Respondent had not  
demonstrated that moving the pelleting operations to Peterborough would be acceptable. As for  
the factor of equity, the dissenting Commission Member held that the potential increases of  
radiation doses and environmental releases to the public that would result from moving pelleting  
operations to Peterborough are not justified based on the ALARA principle, in light of the  
Page: 8  
inequitable increased exposure to the vulnerable population given the proximity of the Prince of  
Wales Public School. As for social trust, the dissenting Commission Member held that the  
proximity of the school and the concerns from local residents are predominant factors for not  
allowing pelleting in Peterborough.  
[20] The Commission majority was satisfied that the Respondent would comply with the  
ALARA principle and aim at minimizing radiation doses at the Toronto and Peterborough  
facilities. In their view, the very low levels of environmental releases and doses to the public  
would not have an impact on the health of persons and the environment, in accordance with s  
24(4) of the NSCA.  
[21] All members of the Commission were satisfied that the Respondent’s radiation protection  
program satisfied the requirements of the ALARA principle.  
B. Relative risk of conducting pelleting at one facility versus the other  
[22] The dissenting Commission Member found that the Respondent failed to provide  
adequate justification for a transfer of pelleting operations to the Peterborough facility.  
[23] While the majority agreed with the dissenting Commission member that the transfer of  
pelleting operations to Peterborough would increase the environmental emissions of uranium  
dioxide and the resulting dose to the public in Peterborough, it reasoned that these doses would  
be so negligible that they would have no health and safety impact to persons and the  
Page: 9  
environment, including to the most vulnerable population such as the students at the Prince of  
Wales School.  
C. Justification Principle  
[24] The dissenting Commission Member relied on the 2007 Recommendations of the  
International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP Publication 103, 2007) to conclude  
that the Respondent failed to provide justification for overriding the need to protect the more  
vulnerable population of Peterborough, and that it is therefore more justifiable to conduct  
pelleting operations in Toronto than in Peterborough.  
[25] The Commission majority held that the Respondent is entitled to determine how best to  
conduct its business, and that the Commission’s role is to ensure the Respondent does so safely  
in accordance with the NSCA and related regulations, which do not entrench the justification  
principle. As such, it held that flexibility should be built into the licence in the eventuality that  
the Respondent decides, for business reasons, to consolidate operations in Peterborough.  
D. Precautionary Principle  
[26] In the view of the dissenting Commission Member, even if it cannot be shown that there  
would be “serious or irreversible damages” resulting from the transfer of pelleting operations, the  
increase of radiation doses and uranium dioxide emissions at a site, which has an adjacent  
vulnerable population, “is not acting in an abundance of precaution”.  
Page: 10  
[27] The Commission majority found that the precautionary principle would not be breached,  
as there would not be serious or irreversible damages resulting from the transfer of pelleting  
operations. The pelleting operations, the plant design and the estimated doses and environmental  
releases are well characterized and would be conducted in only one facility.  
IV.  
Legislative Scheme  
[28] The NSCA is the enabling statute of the Commission. The Commission is established  
pursuant to s 8(1) of the NSCA and its objects are enumerated at s 9 of the NSCA.  
Establishment of  
Commission  
Constitution de la  
Commission  
Establishment of Commission Constitution  
8 (1) There is hereby  
8 (1) Est constituée une  
established a body corporate  
to be known as the Canadian  
Nuclear Safety Commission.  
personne morale appelée la  
Commission canadienne de  
sûreté nucléaire.  
Agent of Her Majesty  
Mandataire de Sa Majesté  
(2) The Commission is for all (2) La Commission est  
its purposes an agent of Her  
Majesty and may exercise its  
powers only as an agent of  
Her Majesty.  
mandataire de Sa Majesté et  
ne peut exercer ses  
attributions qu’à ce titre.  
Objects  
Mission  
Objects  
Mission  
9 The objects of the  
9. La Commission a pour  
Commission are  
mission  
(a) to regulate the  
a) de réglementer le  
development, production and  
développement, la production  
use of nuclear energy and the et l’utilisation de l’énergie  
production, possession and nucléaire ainsi que la  
Page: 11  
use of nuclear substances,  
prescribed equipment and  
prescribed information in  
order to  
production, la possession et  
l’utilisation des substances  
nucléaires, de l’équipement  
réglementé et des  
renseignements réglementés  
afin que :  
(i) prevent  
(i) le niveau de risque  
inhérent à ces activités  
tant pour la santé et la  
sécurité des personnes  
que pour  
unreasonable risk, to  
the environment and to  
the health and safety of  
persons, associated  
with that development,  
production, possession  
or use,  
l’environnement,  
demeure acceptable,  
(ii) prevent  
(ii) le niveau de risque  
inhérent à ces activités pour  
la sécurité nationale  
unreasonable risk to  
national security  
associated with that  
development,  
demeure acceptable,  
production, possession  
or use, and  
(iii) achieve  
(iii) ces activités soient  
exercées en conformité  
avec les mesures de  
contrôle et les  
obligations  
internationales que le  
Canada a assumées;  
conformity with  
measures of control  
and international  
obligations to which  
Canada has agreed;  
and  
(b) to disseminate objective  
scientific, technical and  
regulatory information to the  
public concerning the  
b) d’informer objectivement  
le public sur les plans  
scientifique ou technique ou  
en ce qui concerne la  
activities of the Commission  
and the effects, on the  
réglementation du domaine de  
l’énergie nucléaire — sur ses  
environment and on the health activités et sur les  
and safety of persons, of the  
development, production,  
conséquences, pour la santé et  
la sécurité des personnes et  
possession and use referred to pour l’environnement, des  
in paragraph (a).  
activités mentionnées à  
l’alinéa a).  
Page: 12  
[29] The Committee’s authority to issue licences is provided by s 24 of the NSCA. Subsection  
24(4) of the NSCA provides the conditions under which the Commission may renew a licence  
following receipt of an application if the criteria set out in paragraphs (a) and (b) are met.  
Pursuant to s 24(5), the Commission is authorized to include in a licence “any term or condition  
that the Commission considers necessary for the purposes of this Act.”  
Licences  
Licences et permis  
Licences  
Catégories  
24 (1) The Commission may  
establish classes of licences  
authorizing the licensee to  
carry on any activity  
24 (1) La Commission peut  
établir plusieurs catégories de  
licences et de permis; chaque  
licence ou permis autorise le  
described in any of paragraphs titulaire à exercer celles des  
26(a) to (f) that is specified in activités décrites aux alinéas  
the licence for the period that 26a) à f) que la licence ou le  
is specified in the licence.  
permis mentionne, pendant la  
durée qui y est également  
mentionnée.  
Application  
Demande  
(2) The Commission may  
issue, renew, suspend in  
whole or in part, amend,  
(2) La Commission peut  
délivrer, renouveler,  
suspendre en tout ou en partie,  
revoke or replace a licence, or modifier, révoquer ou  
authorize its transfer, on  
receipt of an application  
remplacer une licence ou un  
permis ou en autoriser le  
transfert lorsqu’elle en reçoit  
la demande en la forme  
réglementaire, comportant les  
renseignements et  
(a) in the prescribed  
form;  
(b) containing the  
prescribed information  
and undertakings and  
accompanied by the  
prescribed documents;  
and  
engagements réglementaires  
et accompagnée des pièces et  
des droits réglementaires.  
(c) accompanied by the  
prescribed fee.  
Page: 13  
Refund of fees  
Remboursement  
(3) The Commission may,  
under the prescribed  
(3) Dans les cas  
réglementaires, la  
circumstances, refund all or  
part of any fee referred to in  
paragraph (2)(c).  
Commission peut rembourser  
la totalité ou une partie des  
droits visés au paragraphe (2).  
Conditions for issuance, etc.  
Conditions préalables à la  
délivrance  
(4) No licence shall be issued, (4) La Commission ne délivre,  
renewed, amended or replaced ne renouvelle, ne modifie ou  
and no authorization to  
transfer one given unless,  
in the opinion of the  
ne remplace une licence ou un  
permis ou n’en autorise le  
transfert que si elle est d’avis  
Commission, the applicant or, que l’auteur de la demande  
in the case of an application ou, s’il s’agit d’une demande  
for an authorization to transfer d’autorisation de transfert, le  
the licence, the transferee  
cessionnaire, à la fois :  
(a) is qualified to carry  
on the activity that the  
licence will authorize  
the licensee to carry on;  
and  
a) est compétent pour  
exercer les activités  
visées par la licence ou le  
permis;  
(b) will, in carrying on  
that activity, make  
b) prendra, dans le cadre  
de ces activités, les  
mesures voulues pour  
préserver la santé et la  
sécurité des personnes,  
pour protéger  
l’environnement, pour  
maintenir la sécurité  
nationale et pour  
adequate provision for  
the protection of the  
environment, the health  
and safety of persons  
and the maintenance of  
national security and  
measures required to  
implement international  
obligations to which  
Canada has agreed.  
respecter les obligations  
internationales que le  
Canada a assumées.  
Terms and conditions of  
licences  
Conditions des licences et des  
permis  
(5) A licence may contain any (5) Les licences et les permis  
term or condition that the  
Commission considers  
necessary for the purposes of  
peuvent être assortis des  
conditions que la Commission  
estime nécessaires à  
Page: 14  
this Act, including a condition l’application de la présente  
that the applicant provide a  
financial guarantee in a form  
that is acceptable to the  
Commission.  
loi, notamment le versement  
d’une garantie financière sous  
une forme que la Commission  
juge acceptable.  
Application of proceeds of  
financial guarantee  
Affectation du produit de la  
garantie financière  
(6) The Commission may  
authorize the application of  
the proceeds of any financial  
guarantee referred to in  
(6) La Commission peut  
autoriser l’affectation du  
produit de la garantie  
financière fournie en  
subsection (5) in such manner conformité avec le paragraphe  
as it considers appropriate for (5) de la façon qu’elle estime  
the purposes of this Act.  
indiquée pour l’application de  
la présente loi.  
Refund  
Remboursement  
(7) The Commission shall  
(7) La Commission rembourse  
grant to any person who  
à la personne qui a fourni la  
provided a financial guarantee garantie la partie non utilisée  
under subsection (5) a refund de celle-ci; le cas échéant, elle  
of any of the proceeds of the  
guarantee that have not been  
spent and may give the  
peut ajouter les intérêts  
calculés au taux réglementaire  
sur le montant du  
person, in addition to the  
refund, interest at the  
prescribed rate in respect of  
each month or fraction of a  
month between the time the  
financial guarantee is  
remboursement, pour chaque  
mois ou partie de mois entre  
le moment où la garantie a été  
donnée et celui du  
remboursement.  
provided and the time the  
refund is granted, calculated  
on the amount of the refund.  
[30] The requirements for licence applications of s 24(4) are supplemented by several  
regulations made under the NSCA: the General Nuclear Safety and Control Regulations,  
SOR/2000-202 [General Regulations]; the Radiation Protection Regulations, SOR/2000-203;  
and the Class I Regulations.  
Page: 15  
[31] Subsection 3(1) of the General Regulations sets out the mandatory information that must  
be provided in all licence applications, among them the requirement under paragraph 3(1)(e) to  
provide information about “the proposed measures to ensure compliance with the Radiation  
Protection Regulations.”  
Licences  
Permis  
General Application  
Requirements  
Dispositions générales  
3 (1) An application for a  
licence shall contain the  
following information:  
3 (1) La demande de permis  
comprend les renseignements  
suivants :  
(a) the applicant’s  
name and business  
address;  
a) le nom et l’adresse  
d’affaires du demandeur;  
(b) the activity to be  
licensed and its  
purpose;  
b) la nature et l’objet de  
l’activité visée par la  
demande;  
(c) the name, maximum  
quantity and form of any  
nuclear substance to be  
encompassed by the  
licence;  
c) le nom, la quantité  
maximale et la forme des  
substances nucléaires  
visées par la demande;  
(d) a description of any  
nuclear facility, prescribed  
equipment or prescribed  
information to be  
encompassed by the  
licence;  
d) une description de  
l’installation nucléaire, de  
l’équipement réglementé  
ou des renseignements  
réglementés visés par la  
demande;  
(e) the proposed  
e) les mesures proposées  
pour assurer la conformité  
au Règlement sur la  
measures to ensure  
compliance with the  
Radiation Protection  
Regulations, the  
Nuclear Security  
Regulations and the  
Packaging and  
radioprotection, au  
Règlement sur la sécurité  
nucléaire et au Règlement  
sur l’emballage et le  
transport des substances  
nucléaires (2015);  
Transport of Nuclear  
Page: 16  
Substances  
Regulations, 2015;  
(f) any proposed action  
level for the purpose of  
section 6 of the  
Radiation Protection  
Regulations;  
f) tout seuil  
d’intervention proposé  
pour l’application de  
l’article 6 du Règlement  
sur la radioprotection;  
(g) the proposed  
g) les mesures proposées  
pour contrôler l’accès aux  
lieux où se déroulera  
l’activité visée par la  
demande et se trouvent  
les substances nucléaires,  
l’équipement réglementé  
ou les renseignements  
réglementés;  
measures to control  
access to the site of the  
activity to be licensed  
and the nuclear  
substance, prescribed  
equipment or prescribed  
information;  
(h) the proposed  
h) les mesures proposées  
pour éviter l’utilisation, la  
possession ou  
l’enlèvement illégaux ou  
la perte des substances  
nucléaires, de  
l’équipement réglementé  
ou des renseignements  
réglementés;  
measures to prevent  
loss or illegal use,  
possession or removal  
of the nuclear  
substance, prescribed  
equipment or prescribed  
information;  
(i) a description and the  
results of any test,  
analysis or calculation  
performed to  
i) une description et les  
résultats des épreuves,  
analyses ou calculs  
effectués pour corroborer  
les renseignements  
substantiate the  
information included in  
the application;  
compris dans la demande;  
(j) the name, quantity,  
form, origin and volume  
of any radioactive waste  
or hazardous waste that  
may result from the  
activity to be licensed,  
including waste that  
may be stored,  
j) le nom, la quantité, la  
forme, l’origine et le  
volume des déchets  
radioactifs ou des  
déchets dangereux que  
l’activité visée par la  
demande peut produire,  
y compris les déchets qui  
peuvent être stockés  
provisoirement ou en  
permanence, gérés,  
managed, processed or  
disposed of at the site of  
the activity to be  
Page: 17  
licensed, and the  
traités, évacués ou  
proposed method for  
managing and disposing  
of that waste;  
éliminés sur les lieux de  
l’activité, et la méthode  
proposée pour les gérer  
et les stocker en  
permanence, les évacuer  
ou les éliminer;  
(k) the applicant’s  
organizational  
management structure  
insofar as it may bear on  
the applicant’s  
k) la structure de gestion  
du demandeur dans la  
mesure où elle peut  
influer sur l’observation  
de la Loi et de ses  
compliance with the Act  
and the regulations made  
under the Act, including  
the internal allocation of  
functions,  
règlements, y compris la  
répartition interne des  
fonctions, des  
responsabilités et des  
pouvoirs;  
responsibilities and  
authority;  
(l) a description of any  
proposed financial  
guarantee relating to the  
activity to be licensed;  
and  
l) une description de la  
garantie financière  
proposée pour l’activité  
visée par la demande;  
(m) any other  
m) tout autre  
information required by  
the Act or the  
renseignement exigé par  
la Loi ou ses règlements  
relativement à l’activité,  
aux substances nucléaires,  
aux installations  
nucléaires, à l’équipement  
réglementé ou aux  
renseignements  
regulations made under  
the Act for the activity  
to be licensed and the  
nuclear substance,  
nuclear facility,  
prescribed equipment or  
prescribed information  
to be encompassed by  
the licence.  
réglementés visés par la  
demande.  
(n) [Repealed, SOR/2008-  
n) [Abrogé, DORS/2008-  
119, s. 2]  
119, art. 2]  
(1.1) The Commission or a  
designated officer authorized  
under paragraph 37(2)(c) of  
(1.1) La Commission ou un  
fonctionnaire désigné autorisé  
en vertu de l’alinéa 37(2)c) de  
the Act, may require any other la Loi peut demander tout  
Page: 18  
information that is necessary  
to enable the Commission or  
the designated officer to  
determine whether the  
applicant  
autre renseignement  
nécessaire pour lui permettre  
d’établir si le demandeur :  
(a) is qualified to  
carry on the activity to  
be licensed; or  
a) est compétent pour  
exercer l’activité visée  
par la demande;  
(b) will, in carrying on  
that activity, make  
adequate provision for the  
protection of the  
environment, the health  
and safety of persons and  
the maintenance of  
national security and  
measures required to  
implement international  
obligations to which  
Canada has agreed.  
b) prendra, dans le cadre de  
l’activité, les mesures  
voulues pour préserver la  
santé et la sécurité des  
personnes, protéger  
l’environnement, maintenir  
la sécurité nationale et  
respecter les obligations  
internationales que le  
Canada a assumées.  
(2) Subsection (1) does not  
apply in respect of an  
application for a licence to  
(2) Le paragraphe (1) ne  
s’applique pas à la demande  
de permis d’importation ou  
import or export for which the d’exportation pour laquelle les  
information requirements are  
prescribed by the Nuclear  
renseignements exigés sont  
prévus par le Règlement sur le  
Non-Proliferation Import and contrôle de l’importation et de  
Export Control Regulations, l’exportation aux fins de la  
or in respect of an application non-prolifération nucléaire, ou  
for a licence to transport while à la demande de permis de  
in transit for which the  
transit pour laquelle les  
information requirements are  
prescribed by the Packaging  
and Transport of Nuclear  
renseignements exigés sont  
prévus par le Règlement sur  
l’emballage et le transport des  
Substances Regulations, 2015. substances nucléaires (2015).  
[32] Paragraph 4(a) of the Radiation Protection Regulations provides that licensees must  
implement a radiation protection program that keeps the radiation dose absorbed by members of  
Page: 19  
the public “as low as reasonably achievable [ALARA], taking into account social and economic  
factors.”  
Radiation Protection  
Program  
Programme de  
radioprotection  
4 Every licensee must  
4 Le titulaire de permis met en  
implement a radiation  
oeuvre un programme de  
protection program and must, radioprotection et, dans le  
as part of that program,  
cadre de ce programme :  
(a) keep the effective  
dose and equivalent  
dose received by and  
committed to persons as  
low as reasonably  
achievable, taking into  
account social and  
economic factors,  
through the  
a) maintient la dose  
efficace et la dose  
équivalente qui sont  
reçues par la personne, et  
engagées à son égard, au  
niveau le plus bas qu’il  
soit raisonnablement  
possible d’atteindre,  
compte tenu des facteurs  
économiques et sociaux,  
par :  
implementation of  
(i) management  
control over work  
practices,  
(i) la maîtrise des  
méthodes de travail par  
la direction,  
(ii) personnel  
qualification and  
training,  
(ii) les qualifications et  
la formation du  
personnel,  
(iii) control of  
(iii) le contrôle de  
l’exposition du  
personnel et du public  
au rayonnement,  
occupational and  
public exposure to  
radiation, and  
(iv) planning for  
unusual situations;  
and  
(iv) la préparation aux  
situations inhabituelles;  
(b) ascertain the  
quantity and  
concentration of any  
nuclear substance  
released as a result of  
the licensed activity  
b) détermine la quantité et  
la concentration des  
substances nucléaires  
rejetées par suite de  
l’exercice de l’activité  
autorisée :  
Page: 20  
(i) by direct  
(i) par mesure directe  
measurement as a  
result of monitoring,  
or  
résultant du contrôle,  
(ii) if the time and  
resources required  
for direct  
measurement as a  
result of monitoring  
outweigh the  
(ii) par évaluation,  
lorsque le temps et les  
ressources exigés pour  
une mesure directe  
sont trop importants  
par rapport à son  
utilité.  
usefulness of  
ascertaining the  
quantity and  
concentration using  
that method, by  
estimating them.  
[33] The Class I Regulations set out information to be included in Class I nuclear facility  
licence applications. Section 3 sets out general, mandatory application requirements for all Class  
I nuclear facilities, including descriptions of the site and structures, plans detailing the location  
and systems of the nuclear facility, the proposed environmental protection policies and  
procedures, and the proposed effluent and environmental monitoring programs.  
Licence Applications  
Demandes de permis  
General Requirements  
Dispositions générales  
3 An application for a licence 3 La demande de permis  
in respect of a Class I nuclear visant une installation  
facility, other than a licence to nucléaire de catégorie I, autre  
abandon, shall contain the  
following information in  
addition to the information  
required by section 3 of the  
General Nuclear Safety and  
Control Regulations:  
qu'un permis d'abandon,  
comprend les renseignements  
suivants, outre ceux exigés à  
l'article 3 du Règlement  
général sur la sûreté et la  
réglementation nucléaires :  
(a) a description of the  
site of the activity to be  
licensed, including the  
a) une description de  
l'emplacement de  
l'activité visée par la  
Page: 21  
location of any  
exclusion zone and any  
structures within that  
zone;  
demande, y compris  
l'emplacement de toute  
zone d'exclusion et de  
toute structure s'y  
trouvant;  
(b) plans showing the  
location, perimeter, areas,  
structures and systems of  
the nuclear facility;  
b) des plans indiquant  
l'emplacement, le  
périmètre, les aires, les  
ouvrages et les systèmes  
de l'installation nucléaire;  
(c) evidence that the  
applicant is the owner of  
the site or has authority  
from the owner of the site  
to carry on the activity to  
be licensed;  
c) la preuve que le  
demandeur est le  
propriétaire de  
l'emplacement ou qu'il est  
mandaté par celui-ci pour  
exercer l'activité visée;  
(d) the proposed  
management system for  
the activity to be  
licensed, including  
measures to promote  
and support safety  
culture;  
d) le système de gestion  
proposé pour l’activité  
visée, y compris les  
mesures qui seront prises  
pour promouvoir une  
culture de sûreté et  
l’appuyer;  
(d.1) the proposed  
d.1) le programme de  
performance humaine  
proposé pour l’activité  
visée, y compris les  
mesures qui seront prises  
pour assurer l’aptitude au  
travail des travailleurs;  
human performance  
program for the activity  
to be licensed, including  
measures to ensure  
workers’ fitness for duty.  
(e) the name, form,  
characteristics and  
quantity of any  
hazardous substances  
that may be on the site  
while the activity to be  
licensed is carried on;  
e) le nom, la forme, les  
caractéristiques et la  
quantité des substances  
dangereuses qui  
pourraient se trouver sur  
l'emplacement pendant le  
déroulement de l'activité  
visée;  
(f) the proposed worker  
health and safety policies  
and procedures;  
f) les politiques et  
procédures proposées  
relativement à la santé et  
Page: 22  
à la sécurité des  
travailleurs;  
(g) the proposed  
environmental  
protection policies and  
procedures;  
g) les politiques et  
procédures proposées  
relativement à la  
protection de  
l'environnement;  
(h) the proposed effluent  
and environmental  
monitoring programs;  
h) les programmes  
proposés pour la  
surveillance de  
l'environnement et des  
effluents;  
(i) if the application is in  
respect of a nuclear  
facility referred to in  
paragraph 2(b) of the  
Nuclear Security  
i) lorsque la demande  
vise une installation  
nucléaire mentionnée à  
l'alinéa 2b) du Règlement  
sur la sécurité nucléaire,  
les renseignements  
Regulations, the  
information required by  
section 3 of those  
Regulations;  
exigés à l'article 3 de ce  
règlement;  
(j) the proposed  
j) le programme destiné  
à informer les personnes  
qui résident à proximité  
de l'emplacement de la  
nature et des  
program to inform  
persons living in the  
vicinity of the site of  
the general nature and  
characteristics of the  
anticipated effects on  
the environment and the  
health and safety of  
persons that may result  
from the activity to be  
licensed; and  
caractéristiques  
générales des effets  
prévus de l'activité visée  
sur l'environnement ainsi  
que sur la santé et la  
sécurité des personnes;  
(k) the proposed plan for  
the decommissioning of  
the nuclear facility or of  
the site.  
k) le plan proposé pour  
le déclassement de  
l'installation nucléaire ou  
de l'emplacement.  
[34] Section 6 of the Class I Regulations sets out additional mandatory application  
requirements for a licence to operate a Class I nuclear facility, including a description of  
Page: 23  
operating equipment and its design; a final safety analysis report identifying hazards and risk  
mitigation controls; a review of effects to the environment, health and safety of persons; the  
proposed emission release points; and the proposed methods of controlling the off-site impacts of  
nuclear substances and hazardous substances to the environment.  
Licence to Operate  
Permis d'exploitation  
6 An application for a licence 6 La demande de permis pour  
to operate a Class I nuclear  
facility shall contain the  
following information in  
addition to the information  
required by section 3:  
exploiter une installation  
nucléaire de catégorie I  
comprend les renseignements  
suivants, outre ceux exigés à  
l'article 3 :  
(a) a description of the  
structures at the  
nuclear facility,  
including their design  
and their design  
operating conditions;  
a) une description des  
ouvrages de l'installation  
nucléaire, y compris leur  
conception et leurs  
conditions nominales  
d'exploitation;  
(b) a description of the  
systems and equipment  
at the nuclear facility,  
including their design  
and their design  
b) une description des  
systèmes et de  
l'équipement de  
l'installation nucléaire,  
y compris leur  
operating conditions;  
conception et leurs  
conditions nominales de  
fonctionnement;  
(c) a final safety  
analysis report  
demonstrating the  
adequacy of the design  
of the nuclear facility;  
c) un rapport final  
d'analyse de la sûreté  
démontrant que la  
conception de  
l'installation nucléaire  
est adéquate;  
(d) the proposed  
d) les mesures,  
measures, policies,  
methods and procedures  
for operating and  
politiques, méthodes et  
procédures proposées  
pour l'exploitation et  
Page: 24  
maintaining the nuclear  
facility;  
l'entretien de  
l'installation nucléaire;  
(e) the proposed  
procedures for  
handling, storing,  
loading and  
transporting nuclear  
substances and  
e) les procédures  
proposées pour la  
manipulation, le  
stockage provisoire, le  
chargement et le  
transport des  
hazardous substances;  
substances nucléaires  
et des substances  
dangereuses;  
(f) the proposed  
f) les mesures  
measures to facilitate  
Canada's compliance  
with any applicable  
safeguards agreement;  
proposées pour aider le  
Canada à respecter tout  
accord relatif aux  
garanties qui  
s'applique;  
(g) the proposed  
g) le programme de  
mise en service  
proposé pour les  
systèmes et  
l'équipement de  
l'installation nucléaire;  
commissioning program  
for the systems and  
equipment that will be  
used at the nuclear  
facility;  
(h) the effects on the  
environment and the  
health and safety of  
persons that may result  
from the operation and  
decommissioning of the  
nuclear facility, and the  
measures that will be  
taken to prevent or  
h) les effets sur  
l'environnement ainsi  
que sur la santé et la  
sécurité des personnes  
que peuvent avoir  
l'exploitation et le  
déclassement de  
l'installation nucléaire,  
de même que les  
mitigate those effects;  
mesures qui seront  
prises pour éviter ou  
atténuer ces effets;  
(i) the proposed location  
of points of release, the  
proposed maximum  
quantities and  
i) l'emplacement  
proposé des points de  
rejet, les quantités et  
les concentrations  
concentrations, and the  
anticipated volume and  
flow rate of releases of  
maximales proposées,  
ainsi que le volume et  
le débit d'écoulement  
Page: 25  
nuclear substances and  
hazardous substances into  
the environment, including  
their physical, chemical  
and radiological  
prévus des rejets de  
substances nucléaires  
et de substances  
dangereuses dans  
l'environnement, y  
compris leurs  
characteristics;  
caractéristiques  
physiques, chimiques  
et radiologiques;  
(j) the proposed  
j) les mesures  
measures to control  
releases of nuclear  
substances and  
hazardous substances  
into the environment;  
proposées pour  
contrôler les rejets de  
substances nucléaires  
et de substances  
dangereuses dans  
l'environnement;  
(k) the proposed  
k) les mesures  
measures to prevent or  
mitigate the effects of  
accidental releases of  
nuclear substances and  
hazardous substances  
on the environment, the  
health and safety of  
persons and the  
proposées pour éviter  
ou atténuer les effets  
que les rejets  
accidentels de  
substances nucléaires et  
de substances  
dangereuses peuvent  
avoir sur  
maintenance of national  
security, including  
measures to  
l’environnement, sur la  
santé et la sécurité des  
personnes ainsi que sur  
le maintien de la  
sécurité nationale, y  
compris les mesures  
visant à :  
(i) assist off-site  
authorities in  
planning and  
preparing to limit the  
effects of an  
accidental release,  
(i) aider les autorités  
extérieures à effectuer  
la planification et la  
préparation en vue de  
limiter les effets d'un  
rejet accidentel,  
(ii) notify off-site  
authorities of an  
accidental release or  
the imminence of an  
accidental release,  
(ii) aviser les autorités  
extérieures d'un rejet  
accidentel ou de  
Page: 26  
l'imminence d'un tel  
rejet,  
(iii) report  
information to off-  
site authorities  
during and after an  
accidental release,  
(iii) tenir les autorités  
extérieures informées  
pendant et après un  
rejet accidentel,  
(iv) assist off-site  
authorities in dealing  
with the effects of an  
accidental release,  
and  
(iv) aider les autorités  
extérieures à remédier  
aux effets d'un rejet  
accidentel,  
(v) test the  
(v) mettre à l'épreuve  
l'application des  
mesures pour éviter  
ou atténuer les effets  
d'un rejet accidentel;  
implementation of  
the measures to  
prevent or mitigate  
the effects of an  
accidental release;  
(l) the proposed  
l) les mesures proposées  
pour empêcher tout acte  
ou tentative de sabotage  
à l'installation nucléaire,  
de même que les  
measures to prevent  
acts of sabotage or  
attempted sabotage at  
the nuclear facility,  
including measures to  
alert the licensee to  
such acts;  
mesures pour alerter le  
titulaire de permis;  
(m) the proposed  
responsibilities of and  
qualification  
requirements and  
training program for  
workers, including the  
procedures for the  
requalification of  
workers; and  
m) les responsabilités, le  
programme de  
formation, les exigences  
de qualification et les  
mesures de  
requalification des  
travailleurs;  
(n) the results that have  
been achieved in  
implementing the  
n) les résultats obtenus  
grâce à l'application du  
programme de  
program for recruiting,  
training and qualifying  
workers in respect of  
the operation and  
recrutement, de  
formation et de  
qualification des  
travailleurs liés à  
Page: 27  
maintenance of the  
nuclear facility.  
l'exploitation et à  
l'entretien de  
l'installation nucléaire.  
[35] The Regulatory Documents of the Commission contain guidelines relating to the  
fulfillment of the requirements set out in the NSCA and its regulations. Regulatory document  
REGDOC-3.5.3, Regulatory Fundamentals outlines the CNSC’s regulatory philosophy and  
approach to applying the NSCA. Its s 5.8 refers to Canada’s international obligations.  
5.8 International obligations 5.8 Obligations  
internationales  
The CNSC participates in  
international fora to provide  
La CCSN participe à des  
forums internationaux en vue  
global nuclear leadership and d’exercer un leadership  
to benefit from international mondial dans le domaine  
experience and best practices. nucléaire et de tirer profit de  
It also participates in l’expérience et des pratiques  
undertakings implemented by exemplaires internationales.  
the International Atomic  
Energy Agency (IAEA) (for  
La CCSN participe également  
à des activités organisées par  
example, IAEA peer reviews), l’Agence internationale de  
the ICRP and other l’énergie atomique (AIEA)  
international organizations, as [comme les examens par les  
well as in activities under  
certain treaties such as the  
Convention on Nuclear  
Safety.  
pairs de l’AIEA], la CIPR et  
d’autres organisations  
internationales, ainsi qu’à des  
activités prévues dans le cadre  
de certains traités, comme la  
Convention sur la sûreté  
nucléaire.  
These international activities  
Ces activités internationales  
help inform the CNSC’s  
permettent d’orienter les  
decision-making processes to: processus décisionnels de la  
CCSN et l’aident :  
understand and  
compare various ways  
of evaluating and  
mitigating risks  
à comprendre et à  
comparer différentes  
façons d’évaluer et  
d’atténuer les risques  
Page: 28  
share research and  
operational experience  
à partager son  
expérience en matière  
de recherche et  
d’exploitation  
[36] Regulatory document REGDOC-2.9.1, Environmental Principles, Assessments and  
Protection Measures, describes the Commission’s principles for environmental protection, the  
scope and responsibilities pertaining to environmental review, and the Committee’s requirements  
and guidance to applicants and licensees for developing environmental protection measures.  
Section 2.1 of REGDOC-2.9.1 provides that social and economic factors must be taken into  
account when assessing conformity with the ALARA principle.  
2.1 The CNSC’s guiding  
principles for protection of  
the environment  
2.1 Principes directeurs de  
la CCSN en matière de  
protection de  
l’environnement  
The CNSC regulates nuclear  
facilities and activities in  
Canada to protect the  
environment and the health  
and safety of persons in a  
La CCSN réglemente les  
installations et les activités  
nucléaires au Canada pour  
protéger l’environnement  
ainsi que pour préserver la  
manner that is consistent with santé et la sécurité des  
Canadian environmental  
policies, acts and regulations  
and with Canada’s  
personnes, et elle le fait en  
conformité avec les politiques,  
lois et règlements canadiens  
en matière d’environnement  
ainsi qu’avec les obligations  
internationales que le Canada  
a assumées.  
international obligations.  
For each facility or activity  
that has direct interactions  
with the environment, the  
Pour chaque installation ou  
activité présentant des  
interactions directes avec  
CNSC must determine that the l’environnement, la CCSN  
licensee or applicant has made doit déterminer que le  
adequate provision for the  
protection of the environment. permis a pris les mesures  
The applicant or licensee’s voulues pour protéger  
demandeur ou le titulaire de  
Page: 29  
licence application shall  
demonstrate (through  
performance assessments,  
monitoring or other  
assessments) that their  
environmental protection  
measures:  
l’environnement. La demande  
de permis du demandeur ou  
du titulaire de permis doit  
démontrer (au moyen  
d’évaluations du rendement,  
de surveillance ou d’autres  
évaluations) que ses mesures  
de protection de  
l’environnement :  
are commensurate  
with the level of  
risk associated with  
the activity  
correspondent au  
niveau de risque  
associé à l’activité  
recognize that  
reconnaissent les  
incertitudes qui existent  
sur le plan scientifique  
et tiennent compte de  
cette incertitude :  
uncertainty exists in  
science and account  
for this uncertainty:  
o by keeping all  
releases to the  
environment as  
low as reasonably  
achievable  
o en maintenant tous  
les rejets dans  
l’environnement au  
niveau le plus bas  
qu’il soit  
(ALARA), social  
and economic  
factors being  
taken into account  
for nuclear  
raisonnablement  
possible d’atteindre  
(principe ALARA,  
de l’anglais as low  
as reasonably  
substances  
achievable),  
compte tenu des  
facteurs sociaux et  
économiques pour  
les substances  
nucléaires  
o through the  
application of the  
best available  
technology and  
techniques  
o en appliquant le  
principe des «  
meilleures  
techniques  
existantes  
economically  
achievable  
d’application  
rentable »  
(BATEA) for  
(MTEAR) pour  
Page: 30  
hazardous  
substances  
les substances  
dangereuses  
respect the  
respectent le principe de  
prudence, le principe du  
« pollueur‑payeur » et  
les concepts de  
precautionary  
principle, the  
“polluter pays”  
principle, and the  
concepts of pollution  
prevention,  
prévention de la  
pollution, du  
développement durable  
et de la gestion  
sustainable  
development and  
adaptive  
adaptative  
management  
are assessed against  
performance indicators  
and targets that are  
sont évaluées par  
rapport à des  
indicateurs de  
rendement et des  
objectifs fondés sur  
des données  
based on sound science  
scientifiques  
rigoureuses  
The following sections of this Les sections suivantes de ce  
regulatory document provide  
information on how to meet  
these principles. The CNSC  
assesses proposed alternative  
approaches and takes into  
account the views and  
proposals of the licensee  
concerning their individual  
situations.  
document d’application de la  
réglementation fournissent des  
renseignements sur la façon  
de satisfaire à ces principes.  
La CCSN évalue les autres  
approches proposées et tient  
compte des points de vue et  
des propositions du titulaire  
de permis concernant sa  
situation personnelle.  
V.  
Issues and Standard of Review  
A. Issues  
Page: 31  
[37] This application raises the following issue: Was it reasonable for the Commission to  
authorize pelleting operations at the Peterborough facility subject to Licence Conditions 15.1,  
15.2, and 15.3?  
[38] As a preliminary matter, the Respondent submitted that the Applicant’s argument  
regarding alleged non-compliance with the Class I Regulations was raised for the first time on  
judicial review, as opposed to before the Commission. The Court heard submissions on this  
question at the outset of the hearing and agreed with the Applicant in brief oral reasons that  
compliance with the Class I Regulations was not a new issue. The question of whether the  
Applicant raised this in its presentations and closing recommendations to the Commission is not  
determinative, as the Commission considered the issue in its decision, and found that the  
Respondent’s Licence Application included information that was required by the Class I  
Regulations. The Applicant was accordingly permitted to address the issue in its submissions.  
[39] In the analysis that follows, the question at issue will be assessed by means of the three  
following sub-questions:  
A. Did the Commission have the authority to attach the Licence Conditions?  
B. Did the Respondent’s Application omit mandatory information, without which the  
Commission lacked a sufficient basis on which to make a reasonable decision?  
C. Did the Commission fail to properly consider the ALARA principle, the justification  
principle, or the precautionary principle?  
Page: 32  
B. Standard of Review  
[40] As agreed upon by the parties, the standard of reasonableness applies to the present  
application. None of the situations that allow for a departure from the presumption of the  
reasonableness standard are applicable in this case: Canada (Minister of Citizenship and  
Immigration) v Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65 [Vavilov] at paras 17, 25; Canada Post Corporation v  
Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 2019 SCC 67 at para 27.  
[41] A reasonable decision is “based on an internally coherent and rational chain of analysis”  
and is “justified in relation to the facts and law that constrain the decision maker”: Vavilov at  
para 85. It must encompass the characteristics of a reasonable decision, namely, justification,  
transparency and intelligibility: Vavilov at para 99, citing Dunsmuir v New Brunswick, 2008 SCC  
9 at paras 47 and 74; Catalyst Paper Corp v North Cowichan (District), 2012 SCC 2 at para 13.  
The reviewing court must adopt a deferential approach and intervene only “where it is truly  
necessary to do so in order to safeguard the legality, rationality and fairness of the administrative  
process”: Vavilov at para 13.  
[42] The guidance of the Federal Court of Appeal in Greenpeace Canada v Canada (Attorney  
General), 2016 FCA 114 [Greenpeace FCA], as concerns the application of the reasonableness  
standard to decisions of the Commission, is directly relevant to the case at bar:  
[60] Where, as here, the issues at play involve detailed factual  
findings and discretionary decisions within the heartland of the  
tribunal’s expertise, the reasonableness standard requires that  
considerable deference be given to the tribunal’s determinations.  
This is particularly so when the issues under review concern  
nuclear safety and the tribunal is the nuclear safety regulator. In  
Page: 33  
short, the CNSC is much better placed than a reviewing court to  
factually assess and determine what types of possible accidents are  
likely to occur at a nuclear power plant and how to conduct the  
assessment of the environmental impacts of potential accidents. It  
is therefore inappropriate for a reviewing court to second-guess  
these determinations through a detailed re-examination of the  
evidence as the appellants would have us do in the instant case.  
VI.  
Analysis  
A. Was it reasonable for the Commission to authorize pelleting operations at the  
Peterborough facility subject to Licence Conditions 15.1, 15.2, and 15.3?  
(1) Did the Commission have the authority to attach the Licence Conditions?  
[43] It appears from the Decision (at para 435) that the reason provided by the Respondent to  
the Commission for requesting license approval for pelleting in Peterborough was that the  
company wanted some assurance that it was feasible before exploring the option. No decision  
had apparently been made regarding that option.  
[44] The Applicant submits that it was unlawful for the Commission to issue Licence  
Conditions that are not consistent with the regulatory purpose of licensing: ATCO Gas &  
Pipelines Ltd. v Alberta (Energy and Utilities Board), 2006 SCC 4 at paras 49-50 [ATCO].  
[45] In ATCO, at para 50, the Supreme Court emphasized that the grant of authority to  
exercise a discretion does not confer unlimited discretion to the decision-maker. The discretion  
must be exercised within the confines of the statutory regime and principles generally applicable  
to regulatory matters.  
Page: 34  
[46] The Applicant argues that it was unreasonable for the Commission to qualify the Licence  
Conditions as hold pointsfor which the Respondent has to provide proof before proceeding  
with pelleting, as in so doing, the Commission has deferred a decision it was required to make  
within a public hearing and under its enabling statute.  
[47] The terminology of hold pointsto which the Applicant refers is not found in the  
Licence Decision, but rather in the transcript of the March 4, 2020 public hearing which reads as  
follows:  
Now everything, all requirements has to be met and then we will  
provide you with either a hold point by which the applicant has to  
provide proof to the Commission and then we will put the process  
in place according to the rule of procedures.  
[48] Reliance on hold points, the Applicant contends, relieves the Respondent from  
mandatory application obligations, as the information the Commission would later receive to  
determine whether hold points are fulfilled is the information that was legally required for the  
licence application itself. The Applicant submits that this approach defers key elements of  
analysis to a later date and thus renders the decision-making process meaningless.  
[49] The imposition of hold points, rather than conditions precedent to the licence, is  
inconsistent with the regulatory scheme, according to the Applicant, as the General Regulations  
and Class I Regulations set out the information which is required in an application prior to a  
licence being granted, and not after the granting of a licence.  
Page: 35  
[50] The Applicants rely on Morton v Canada (Fisheries and Oceans), 2015 FC 575 at para  
98 [Morton] to assert that licence conditions cannot derogate from or be inconsistent with the  
regulatory scheme.  
[51] The Commission’s use of hold points also denies the public the opportunity to be heard,  
thus violating s 40 of the NSCA, the Applicant argues. By not providing information specific to  
pelleting at the Peterborough facility, to which interveners ought to have been able to respond in  
the licensing process, public participation was denied. The Applicant submits that this approach  
lacked transparency and failed to meet the statutory purpose under paragraph 9(b) of the NSCA  
of disseminating information to the public.  
[52] The Commission’s rationale for attaching the hold points to the licence – the fact that the  
Respondent had sought flexibility in its licence in case it decided to consolidate operations in  
Peterborough for business reasons does not reflect the purposes of the statute nor the  
obligations of the Commission set out by ss 3 and 24(4) of the NSCA, in the Applicant’s view.  
[53] The Respondent submits that the imposition of hold pointswas consistent with the  
Commission’s regulatory practice, as evidenced by regulatory document REGDOC-3.5.1,  
Licensing Process for Class I Nuclear Facilities and Uranium Mines and Mills (Version 2) at p 9,  
which notes that the “first licence to operate [a Class I] facility is typically issued with conditions  
(hold points).”  
Page: 36  
[54] Moreover, as demonstrated by three recent decisions dating from 2015 to 2018, involving  
Ontario Power Generation, the Saskatchewan Research Council and Bruce Power, the imposition  
of hold points was not an unusual exercise of the Commission’s regulatory authority. In each of  
these decisions, the Commission imposed licence conditions in the form of forward-looking hold  
points rather than conditions precedent. The Court agrees with the Respondent that accepting the  
Applicant’s position would result in regulatory uncertainty and confusion, as it would cast doubt  
over the Commission’s jurisdiction to supervise and monitor these facilities and existing hold  
point arrangements.  
[55] In the Court’s view, Morton is inapplicable to the present matter as it pertained to a  
licence condition issued pursuant to the Fishery General Regulations, SOR/93-53, which contain  
no equivalent to s 24(5) of the NSCA. While s 24(5) of the NSCA provides that the Commission  
can attach any term or condition considered necessary, s 22(1) of the Fishery General  
Regulations set forth the opposite instruction in providing that “the Minister may specify in a  
licence any condition that is not inconsistent with these Regulations”: Morton at para 8.  
[56] As a creature of statute, the Commission has only such legal authority as the legislature  
has expressly or by implication conferred on it. Judicial interpretation of such authority must  
endeavour within the scope of the legislation to give effect to its provisions so that the  
administrative agencies created may function effectively, as the legislature intended: Maple  
Lodge Farms v Government of Canada, [1982] 2 SCR 2 at 7; Vavilov at para 308.  
Page: 37  
[57]  
Where the legislature chooses to grant authority to a decision maker using broad, open-  
ended or highly qualitative language, with no right of appeal to a court, then the legislature’s  
intention that the decision maker have greater flexibility in interpreting its enabling statute  
should be given effect: Vavilov at paras 68, 110.  
[68] Reasonableness review does not give administrative  
decision makers free rein in interpreting their enabling statutes, and  
therefore does not give them licence to enlarge their powers  
beyond what the legislature intended. Instead, it confirms that the  
governing statutory scheme will always operate as a constraint on  
administrative decision makers and as a limit on their  
authority. Even where the reasonableness standard is applied in  
reviewing a decision maker’s interpretation of its authority, precise  
or narrow statutory language will necessarily limit the number  
of reasonable interpretations open to the decision maker —  
perhaps limiting it one. Conversely, where the legislature has  
afforded a decision maker broad powers in general terms and  
has provided no right of appeal to a court — the legislature’s  
intention that the decision maker have greater leeway in  
interpreting its enabling statute should be given effect. […]  
[110] Whether an interpretation is justified will depend on the  
context, including the language chosen by the legislature in  
describing the limits and contours of the decision maker’s  
authority. If a legislature wishes to precisely circumscribe an  
administrative decision maker’s power in some respect, it can do  
so by using precise and narrow language and delineating the power  
in detail, thereby tightly constraining the decision maker’s ability  
to interpret the provision. Conversely, where the legislature  
chooses to use broad, open-ended or highly qualitative language —  
for example, “in the public interest” — it clearly contemplates that  
the decision maker is to have greater flexibility in interpreting the  
meaning of such language. […]  
[Emphasis added]  
[58] Parliament did precisely this in providing that the Commission may attach to a licence  
“any term or condition that the Commission considers necessary for the purposes of this Act,”  
pursuant to s 24(5) of the NSCA. This is but one of the several broad powersthe legislature has  
Page: 38  
conferred on the Commission with regard to granting licences, pursuant to ss 24 and 25 of the  
NSCA: Athabasca Regional Government v Canada (Attorney General), 2010 FC 948 at para 236.  
Thus, the intention was that the Commission is to have significant leeway in interpreting the  
meaning of s 24(5) of the NSCA.  
[59] The broad and open language of s 24(5) is, in the Court’s view, a complete response to  
the question of whether the license conditions were lawful, as the enactment provides the  
Commission with statutory authority to issue licence conditions in the form of hold points that  
must be satisfied prospectively. The attachment of conditions in the form of hold points is not a  
deferral of a decision, but rather an integral part of the decision that the Commission made. Thus,  
the Commission’s decision was fully compliant with its enabling statute.  
[60] The Applicant’s submissions that the use of hold points denies the public the opportunity  
to be heard and impedes the dissemination of information to the public in violation of ss 40 and  
9(b) of the NSCA are premature, as the Respondent contends. The Commission has not yet made  
a decision on whether to hold a public hearing regarding the Respondent’s satisfaction of the  
hold points and the record does not support a finding that it will not do so. The Commission  
ordered a public proceeding to occur not later than 2026 where the Respondent must present  
“comprehensive mid-term updates on its licensed activities” to the Commission: Licence  
Decision at paras 23, 480.  
Page: 39  
[61] As a general principle, the Court should avoid interfering with ongoing administrative  
processes until after they are completed: Canada (Border Services Agency) v CB Powell Ltd,  
2010 FCA 61 at para 31; Klos v Canada (Attorney General), 2021 FCA 238 at para 6.  
[62] In the result, the Court is satisfied that it was reasonable and lawful for the Commission  
to attach the Licence Conditions in the form of hold pointsto the Peterborough Licence.  
B. Did the Respondent’s Application omit mandatory information, without which  
the Commission lacked a sufficient basis on which to make a reasonable  
decision?  
[63] The Applicant submits that the Respondent failed to provide the following requisite  
information in its Licence Application:  
Information about four of the fourteen Safety and Control Areas  
(SCA) used by the Commission to assess compliance with regulatory  
compliance, namely: (i) operating performance; (ii) safety analysis;  
(iii) physical design; and (iv) environmental protection;  
Three categories of information required by the Class I Regulations  
and the Radiation Protection Regulations, namely:  
(i) information regarding its proposed environmental protection  
policies for the Peterborough facility (as required by paragraph  
3(g) of the Class I Regulations);  
(ii) information regarding its proposed effluent and environmental  
monitoring programs for the Peterborough facility (as required  
by paragraph 3(h) of the Class I Regulations); and  
(iii) information regarding the Peterborough facility’s design and  
layout, emissions release points and environmental effects (as  
required by section 6 of the Class I Regulations).  
Page: 40  
[64] Safety and control areas [SCAs] are the technical topics used by the Commission to  
assess, review, verify and report on regulatory requirements and performance across all regulated  
facilities and activities. There are fourteen distinct SCAs, among them operative performance,  
safety analysis, physical design, and environmental protection.  
[65] The Applicant submits that the Commission authorized pelleting at the Peterborough  
facility despite finding that the Respondent’s licence application did not include requisite  
information about four SCAs: operative performance, safety analysis, physical design, and  
environmental protection. In the Applicant’s view, this is unlawful, as it is contrary to s 24(4) of  
the NSCA, which requires the Commission to determine whether the licensee has made adequate  
provision for the protection of the environment and the health and safety of persons.  
[66] Information pertaining to the SCA of operating performance was omitted, as the  
Respondent had not yet carried out a complete assessment on how the pelleting operation would  
be moved to the Peterborough facility and whether significant changes to the assurance process  
would be needed. According to the Applicant, such operating performance information is  
mandatory in applications per paragraph 6(d) of the Class I Regulations.  
[67] Information pertaining to the SCA of safety analysis was omitted, as the Commission  
found that the Respondent had not updated its existing Safety Analysis Report [SAR] for the  
Peterborough facility, but rather adopted the SAR currently in place for its pelleting operations in  
Toronto. This, in the Applicant’s view, was a violation of paragraph 6 (c) of the Class I  
Regulations.  
Page: 41  
[68] As the Respondent had not completed the design for modifications to equipment,  
structures, systems and components such as stacks and emissions modelling necessary for  
pelleting to occur in Peterborough, information pertaining to the SCA of physical design was  
omitted. This omission, the Applicant contends, violates paragraphs 3(a), (b), (e) and (h) and  
paragraphs 6(a) and (b) of the Class I Regulations.  
[69] Information pertaining to the SCA of environmental protection was omitted, as the  
Commission found that the Respondent had not updated its environmental monitoring program  
to account for pelleting operations at the Peterborough facility. Such information was required,  
according to the Applicant, by ss 4.2 and 4.3 of RegDoc 2.9.1 and paragraphs 3(g) and 3(h) of  
the Class I Regulations in order to identify, seek to control, and monitor all releases of  
radioactive and hazardous substances to the environment.  
[70] The absence of the information pertaining to the four SCA’s, the Applicant submits,  
deprived the Commission of the requisite material to make a reasonable decision under s 24(4) of  
the NSCA to authorize the Respondent’s transfer of pelleting operations to Peterborough.  
[71] The Applicant submits that the Respondent’s licence application failed to include the  
requisite information regarding its proposed environmental protection policies and proposed  
effluent and environmental monitoring programs for the Peterborough facility (as required by  
paragraphs 3(g) and 3(h) of the Class I Regulations), as well as the requisite information  
regarding the Peterborough facility’s design and layout, emissions release points and  
environmental effects (as required by s 6 of the Class I Regulations).  
Page: 42  
[72] The Respondent contends that it provided information responsive to each of the SCAs as  
well as each of its regulatory requirements, and that the Commission did not commit an error in  
unanimously recognizing that the Respondent had satisfied the requirements of the Class I  
Regulations. The Respondent argues that the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) it  
submitted to the Commission, which concluded that the proposed consolidated facility would  
produce emissions and radiation exposure at mere fractions of the licence or regulatory limits,  
provides information responsive to the requirements of paragraphs 3(g), 3(h), 6(h), 6(i), 6(j) and  
6(k) of the Class I Regulations. Moreover, the Respondent submits that it provided detailed  
information regarding its environmental monitoring program in conformity with s 6(h) of the  
Class I Regulations, and notes that it proposed transferring its air and soil monitoring practices  
from Toronto to Peterborough if it commenced pelleting in Peterborough, which is the same  
obligation created by Licence Condition 15.1. The ERA, the Respondent submits, was site  
specific as it expressly accounts for local climate and meteorology, geology, groundwater flow,  
surface water, terrestrial and aquatic environments, land use and the presence of the Prince of  
Wales Public School.  
[73] The Court agrees with the Respondent that the sufficiency of an application under the  
Class I Regulations is a subjective standard left to the Commission to enforce, as the Regulations  
provide broad, general standards, and terms defined without scientific precision. These broadly  
defined standards leave room for the Commission’s judgment. It is worth noting that the  
Commission itself wrote the Class I Regulations pursuant to s 44 of the NSCA. Calibration of the  
precise level of specificity required by these broad terms is a matter Parliament left for the  
Commission, not for the Applicant or the Court.  
Page: 43  
[74] It was reasonable, in the Court’s view, for the data and practices related to the Toronto  
facility to be transposed to the Peterborough facility for the purpose of the ERA and  
environmental monitoring program. This approach is supported by the regulatory guidance  
provided by REGDOC-2.9.1, Environmental Protection: Environmental Principles, Assessments  
and Protection Measures, which stipulates that initial ERAs of new facilities or activities are  
“based on best estimates of the facility- or activity-specific characteristics” and primarily  
predictive, as they involve assessing the potential effects of a hypothetical facility or activity.  
The use of the Toronto facility data presented a stronger, more reliable safety case than mere  
predictive assessments of a hypothetical facility that had yet to commence operations. It was  
open to the Commission to accept the 2016 data as it is best suited to make such a finding.  
[75] With respect to the SCA of safety analysis, it was also reasonable for the Commission to  
rely on the Respondent’s safety analysis report from Toronto to satisfy paragraph 6(c) of the  
Class I Regulations, as well as the Commission’s request for a mid-licence update prior to the  
commencement of pelleting operations in Peterborough, pursuant to Licence Condition 15.2.  
[76] The Respondent submits that it devoted 14 pages of its 58-page licence application to the  
proposed measures, policies, methods and procedures for operating and maintaining the nuclear  
facility, and thus satisfied the requirements of s 6(d) of the Class I Regulations. The Respondent  
argues that the information relating to the Toronto facility was transferrable, as much of this  
information is comprised of general practices and policies that would apply no matter where  
pelleting took place, and because the Respondent plans to implement the exact same process if  
Page: 44  
pelleting is transferred to the Peterborough facility. It was reasonable for the Commission to rely  
on this information.  
[77] As for the SCA of physical design, the Respondent argues that it provided descriptions of  
the locations, structures, systems and equipment used as required under paragraphs 3(a), 3(b),  
6(a) and 6(b) of the Class I Regulations. Pelleting operations in Peterborough would be  
conducted within the existing licensed facility via a reconfiguration of existing space, and no  
new buildings would be constructed. Any changes and modifications that may occur during the  
licence period would be governed by the Respondent’s change management plan, which was  
approved by the Commission. Furthermore, the Respondent submits that its ERA provides  
information on release points for the proposed consolidated facility, as required by paragraph 6(i)  
of the Class I Regulations. The Commission was aware that the exact placement of new release  
points had not yet been finalized but was still satisfied that the Respondent had provided  
sufficient information for the Commission to exercise its authority under s 24(4).  
[78] It does not constitute a reviewable error for the Commission to require additional  
information from a licensee in the future. Changes to a licensed facility or activity are expected.  
The Commission’s authority to attach any condition it considers necessary would have little or  
no purpose if licence applications must fully account for every contingency during the licence  
period.  
[79] The Commission did not lack a sufficient basis on which to make a reasonable decision,  
as it was reasonable for it to rely on the information that the Respondent provided pursuant to its  
Page: 45  
statutory and regulatory requirements. The Commission’s exercise of its discretion should not be  
interfered with merely because such discretion could have been exercised in a different manner:  
Maple Lodge Farms v Government of Canada, [1982] 2 SCR 2 at 7.  
[80] In Greenpeace FC, the Federal Court held that it was reasonable for the Commission to  
accept plans that were far from finalas meeting the requirements of s 3 of the Class I  
Regulations: Greenpeace FC at para 409. In any case, the Commission’s requests for further  
information do not constitute findings to the effect that the Respondent failed to provide  
adequate information to make a decision. The appreciation of the adequacy of the information  
before the Commission is a matter properly left to the judgment of the Commission, which has a  
high degree of expertise in such matters: Alberta Wilderness Assn. v Express Pipelines Ltd, 1996  
12470 (FCA) at para 9; Greenpeace FCA at para 60. As the Federal Court of Appeal  
stated in Greenpeace FCA, it is “inappropriate for a reviewing court to second-guess these  
determinations through a detailed re-examination of the evidence as the appellants would have us  
do in the instant case”: Greenpeace FCA at para 60.  
[81] The Court is therefore satisfied that the Commission had a sufficient basis on which to  
make reasonable conclusions pertaining to the SCAs of operating performance, safety analysis,  
physical design and environmental protection, as well as conformity with the Class I  
Regulations. It is not the proper role of this Court to re-evaluate the evidence and come to a  
different conclusion as to whether the requirements of the Class I Regulations were satisfied.  
C. Did the Commission fail to properly consider the ALARA principle, the  
justification principle, or the precautionary principle?  
Page: 46  
[82] The Applicant submits that the Commission exercised its discretion unreasonably in light  
of three principles: (i) the ALARA principle; (ii) the justification principle; and (iii) the  
precautionary principle. These principles, the Applicant argues, have been entrenched in  
international law and ss 3, 9 and 24 (4) of the NSCA required that they be applied by the  
Commission.  
[83] The Applicant relies on Kazemi Estate v Islamic Republic of Iran, 2014 SCC 62 [Kazemi]  
at para 61 to submit that legislation is presumed to operate in conformity with Canada’s  
international obligations, and that those obligations must inform decision-makers as they  
interpret and apply laws.  
[84] The Applicant submits that the term international obligationsin s 24(4) of the NSCA  
must be interpreted to include the three core principles of radiation protection: justification,  
optimization of radiation protection (or ALARA), and dose limitation (the radiation protection  
principles). The Applicant contends that the Court’s interpretation of s 24(4) should be guided by  
the legal test for establishing customary international law, as it is designed to incorporate  
elements of international law into domestic law that are not in the form of treaties.  
[85] The mere existence of a customary rule in international law does not automatically  
incorporate that rule into the domestic legal order: Kazemi, at para 61. There are two  
requirements for a norm of customary international law to be recognized in Canadian law: (a) a  
general but not necessarily universal practice, and (b) opinio juris, the belief that such practice  
amounts to a legal obligation: Nevsun Resources Ltd v Araya, 2020 SCC 5 at para 77.  
Page: 47  
[86] The Applicant contends that these criteria are satisfied by Canada’s adherence to the  
International Commission for Radiation Protection’s [ICRP] 1977 recommendations on  
radiological protection that have been adopted within the International Atomic Energy Agency  
Fundamental Safety Principles. These Fundamental Safety Principles are centred on the three  
core principles enumerated above. The Applicant also asserts that this general practice of  
justification analysis includes consideration of factors such as societal and ethical aspects: s 3.85  
of the International Atomic Energy Agency, “Radiation Protection of the Public Environment”.  
[87] The Applicant also relies on a statement by the Commission in 2019 to the ICRP that its  
licensing process embodies the exercise of justification: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission,  
“Canada’s response to the 2019 IRRS Report”.  
(a) ALARA Principle  
[88] The Applicant argues that it was unreasonable for the Commission to authorize the  
Licence Conditions when its decision specifically rejected contemplation of the social and  
economic factors necessary to assess whether doses of nuclear substances to the public and  
environment complied with the ALARA principle. Thus, the Applicant contends that the  
Commission failed to implement the ALARA principle by rejecting contemplation of social and  
economic factors, contrary to paragraph 4(a) of the Radiation Protection Regulations.  
[89] The Applicant notes that s 5.0 of the Regulatory Guide G-129, Rev. 1, Keeping Radiation  
Exposures and Doses As Low as Reasonably Achievable (ALARA), the predecessor of draft  
RegDoc 2.7.1 Radiation Protection, confirms that the ALARA principle takes into consideration  
Page: 48  
relevant social and economic factors, including the views of the public. Furthermore, the  
Applicant maintains that implementation of the ALARA principle is required by ss 2.1, and 4.2.1  
of REGDOC-2.9.1 Environmental Protection, ss 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.2.2, and 3.1 of RegDoc 2.9.2  
Controlling Releases to the Environment (draft 2021), and by Appendix B of RegDoc 3.1.2  
Reporting Requirements, Volume 1: Non-Power Reactor Class I Nuclear Facilities and Uranium  
Mines and Mills.  
[90] In support of its argument that the Commission failed to take into account social  
considerations in accordance with the ALARA principle, the Applicant cites passages in the  
transcript of the public hearings in which the President of the Commission stated several times  
that [t]he mandate of the Commission also does not include a requirement that licensed  
activities have community support, local buy-in, social licence or social acceptability. […] the  
Commission is not mandated to adjudicate social licence considerations”.  
[91] In addition to the entrenchment of the ALARA principle in domestic regulations, the  
Applicant argues that the ALARA principle is also a core international obligation that must be  
applied by the Commission pursuant to s 24(4) of the NSCA. The Applicant contends that  
Canada is obligated to take all appropriate steps to ensure that radiation exposure is kept  
ALARAby article 15 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety and thus the Commission was  
required to consider the ALARA principle, including social and economic factors.  
[92]  
The Respondent submits that the majority of the Commission properly considered the  
ALARA principle. It argues that the principle does not independently inform the Commission’s  
Page: 49  
licensing decisions. Rather, the Respondent argues, the ALARA principle is implemented  
through the Radiation Protection Regulations and requires licensees to implement a radiation  
protection program; the Commission applies ALARA by ensuring this program is satisfactory:  
Regulatory Guide G-129, Rev. 1, Keeping Radiation Exposures and Doses As Low as  
Reasonably Achievable (ALARA), ss. 1.0, 2.0, 4.0. The Respondent complies with this by, for  
example, monitoring radiation doses, implementing action levelsand establishing an ALARA  
Committee. There is no independent obligation for the Commission to exercise its discretion in a  
manner that is ALARA-compliant, but rather, only an obligation for the licensee to implement  
measures that optimize radiation doses. The Commission majority decision ensures that efforts to  
reduce doses are proportionate to the risk in stressing that “the very low levels of environmental  
releases and doses to the public” created by the potential consolidation of the two facilities  
“would not have an impact on the health of persons and the environment”: Licence Decision at  
para 447.  
[93] There is no provision in the Radiation Protection Regulations, nor in any regulatory or  
guidance document requiring the Commission to exercise its discretion in accordance with the  
ALARA principle in its assessment of radiation protection programs. Rather, paragraph 4(a) of  
the Radiation Protection Regulations entrenches the ALARA principle only insofar as it pertains  
to the design of a radiation protection program by a Licensee. None of the regulations or  
regulatory documents cited by the Applicant create an obligation for the Commission’s decisions  
to comply with the ALARA principle, nor for its decisions to take into account social  
considerations in applying that principle. While such factors are to be found in the draft  
regulatory document relied upon by the dissenting Commission Member, they have yet to be  
Page: 50  
adopted in domestic law. Legislative changes would be necessary for social factors to have an  
impact on the Commission’s licence discretion. A representative of the Applicant at the  
Commission hearing conceded this.  
[94] In any event, the draft regulatory document relied upon by the Applicant, RegDoc 2.7.1  
at s 4.1.3, provides that the ALARA principle must be implemented by the Licensee, and not by  
the Commission. Regulatory Guide G-129, Rev. 1, which is currently in force, provides that the  
Commission “looks at the processes adopted by licensees to maintain doses ALARA as evidence  
of compliance with paragraph 4(a) of the Radiation Protection Regulations”: Regulatory Guide  
G-129, Rev. 1, s 4.0.  
[95] In the Court’s view, the Commission did not unreasonably fail to implement the ALARA  
principle as there was no obligation for it to do so in its decision. The Commission properly  
found that the Respondent complied with the ALARA principle by monitoring radiation doses,  
implementing action levelsand establishing an ALARA Committee.  
(b) Justification Principle  
[96] The Applicant submits that the Licence Decision is unreasonable because it does not  
comply with the principle of justification and thus does not meet the requirement under s 24(4)  
of the NSCA to implement international obligations. According to the Applicant, the justification  
principle dictates that the Commission could not authorize pelleting operations in the  
Peterborough facility without finding that the advantage posed by exposure to additional levels  
of ionizing radiation outweighed any risks.  
Page: 51  
[97] The Respondent submits that the justification principle has not been incorporated or  
adopted into the NSCA, its regulations or any of the Commission’s regulatory guidance. Canada  
has not agreed to adopt or incorporate the justification principle into domestic law; thus,  
reference to intentional obligationsin the NSCA does not entrench the justification principle.  
The Respondent further notes that Canada expressly rejected a request from the International  
Atomic Energy Agency to incorporate the justification principle explicitly into its legal  
framework: Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, “Canada’s response to the 2019 IRRS  
Report”, pp 3-4. In light of Canada’s express rejection of the principle, the Respondent argues  
that it cannot qualify as customary international law either, as it fails the criterion requiring that  
the practice be motivated by the belief that such practice amounts to a legal obligation. Finally,  
the Respondent notes that while the justification principle under international law requires an  
assessment of whether the benefits outweigh the harm, the Commission’s approach to  
justification differs in that the Commission justifiesits decisions on the basis that there is no  
unreasonable risk. According to the Respondent, the Commission majority affirmed this  
understanding of the justification principle in its reasons, explaining that its role is to apply the  
NSCA and its regulations to ensure that the Respondent is operating safely within those  
regulatory boundaries.  
[98] The Court agrees with the Respondent that the term international obligationsin s 24(4)  
of the NSCA does not entrench the justification principle. Absent express incorporation, the  
normative content of Canada’s domestic laws does not include principles of international law. In  
the Federal Court of Appeal’s unanimous Entertainment Software Association v. SOCAN, 2020  
Page: 52  
FCA 100 decision, Justice Stratas articulated the following principles with respect to  
international norms:  
[77] Too often these days, we see these misuses. International  
law enters legal debates before courts and administrative decision-  
makers only in specific, defined ways that are consistent with  
settled doctrine and our constitutional framework: Gitxaala Nation  
v. Canada, 2015 FCA 73.  
[…]  
[80] For this fundamental reason, international instruments  
cannot become Canadian law without domestic legislative action.  
Put another way, international instruments are not self-executing in  
Canadian domestic law. They must be incorporated into Canadian  
domestic law by legislation that adopts the international instrument  
in whole or in part or enacts standards borrowed from or related to  
that instrument: Capital Cities Comm. v. C.R.T.C., 1977 12  
(SCC), [1978] 2 S.C.R. 141, 81 D.L.R. (3d) 609 at 171-172  
S.C.R.; Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and  
Immigration), 1999 699 (SCC), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817, 174  
D.L.R. (4th) 193; and many others. If Parliament decides not to  
adopt a particular international instrument, that instrument does not  
become binding domestic law: Ordon Estate v. Grail, 1998  
771 (SCC), [1998] 3 S.C.R. 437, 166 D.L.R. (4th) 193 at para. 137.  
Those who want it to be binding law have only one recourse: they  
must persuade some politicians to make it so.  
[…]  
[87] The foregoing principles apply to administrative decision-  
makers as well as courts. Like courts, administrative decision-  
makers must interpret legislation by examining its text, context and  
purpose: Vavilov at paras. 120-121. As discussed above, under that  
method, international law enters into the analysis only in certain  
ways.  
[99] In its response to the International Atomic Energy Agency declining its request to  
expressly incorporate the justification principle, the Commission noted that its licensing process  
embodiesthe justification principle of international law; however, it drew a distinction  
Page: 53  
between the exercise of justification under s 24(4) of the NSCA, which requires that decisions be  
justified on the basis that there is no unreasonable risk, and the justification principle as  
understood under international law, which requires an assessment of whether the benefits  
outweigh the harm. Therefore, it cannot be said that the justification principle, as understood  
under international law, is believed to amount to a legal obligation in Canada. As such, it does  
not satisfy the criterion of opinio juris and does not constitute a norm of customary international  
law.  
(c) Precautionary Principle  
[100] The Applicant relies on 114957 Canada Ltée (Spraytech, Société d'arrosage) v Hudson  
(Town), 2001 SCC 40 at paras 30-32 [Spraytech] to argue that the Commission failed to apply  
the precautionary principle, as enshrined in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment  
and Development, UN Conference on Environment and Development, UN Doc A/CONF  
151/Rev 1 (1992) and required by the Commission’s guidance document “Implementation of the  
Precautionary and Sustainable Development Principles in Nuclear Law A Canadian  
Perspective”. The Applicant argues despite the Commission’s assertion that the estimated doses  
and environmental releases of potential pelleting operations at the Peterborough facility are well  
characterized, the Commission made a decision without the necessary site-specific evidence,  
contrary to the precautionary principle.  
[101] The Respondent submits that the Commission properly decided not to apply the  
precautionary principle, as there were no threats of serious or irreversible damage. The  
Respondent cites the definition of the precautionary principle in Spraytech at para 31, wherein  
Page: 54  
the Supreme Court confirms that the principle is triggered “where there are threats of serious or  
irreversible damage”. Furthermore, the Respondent argues that the dissenting Commission  
Member overextended or reinterpreted the precautionary principle by suggesting that he was not  
satisfied because the transfer of pelleting operations to Peterborough would not amount to  
acting in an abundance of caution.  
[102] The Court agrees with the Respondent that, applying the definition in Spraytech, the  
precautionary principle was not engaged in this instance. The Commission majority expressly  
found that “there would not be serious or irreversible damages” resulting from the transfer of  
pelleting operations to Peterborough. The dissenting Commission Member conceded “it would  
be difficult to argue that there is potential for ‘serious or irreversible damages’ with moving the  
pelleting operations”. The test is not, as the dissenting Member suggested, that the principle was  
breached because the transfer to Peterborough would not amount to “acting in an abundance of  
caution”. Thus it was reasonable for the Commission majority to determine that the  
precautionary principle was not engaged.  
VII. Conclusion  
[103] In the application of the reasonableness standard, the Court is not empowered to  
substitute its own view of the merits of the underlying matter. Reasonable people can disagree  
about whether expanding an industrial operation involving nuclear materials in a residential  
district and adjacent to a primary school is wise. The Court is aware that the City of  
Peterborough has a long industrial history. It appears that the Respondent’s facility has been in  
its present location for many years under the present and previous owners. The record does not  
Page: 55  
indicate when the school was built in that neighbourhood or whether the Respondent’s facility  
was being used for handling nuclear materials when the school was constructed. The concerns of  
residents in that neighbourhood, especially the parents of the children attending that school, are  
understandable notwithstanding the evidence and the findings of the Commission members,  
including the dissenting member, that the risk of harm is very low. While the Court may consider  
that the wisdom of expanding an industrial operation involving nuclear materials in the  
immediate vicinity of a primary school is dubious, that is not the question before it to determine.  
[104] Applying the legal standard of reasonableness, including the deferential approach  
required by the governing authorities, this is not a case where the Court can find that it is truly  
necessary to intervene in order to safeguard the legality, rationality and fairness of the  
administrative process: Vavilov at para 13. The application for judicial review must therefore be  
dismissed.  
[105] The parties have agreed to bear their own costs. Accordingly, none will be awarded.  
Page: 56  
JUDGMENT IN T-228-21  
THIS COURT’S JUDGMENT is that the application is dismissed. The parties shall  
bear their own costs.  
“Richard G. Mosley”  
Judge  
FEDERAL COURT  
SOLICITORS OF RECORD  
T-228-21  
DOCKET:  
CITIZENS AGAINST RADIOACTIVE  
NEIGHBOURHOODS V BWXT NUCLEAR ENERGY  
INC  
STYLE OF CAUSE:  
HEARD VIA VIDEOCONFERENCE  
MARCH 21-22, 2022  
PLACE OF HEARING:  
DATE OF HEARING:  
JUDGMENT AND REASONS:  
DATED:  
MOSLEY J.  
JUNE 9, 2022  
APPEARANCES:  
Theresa A. McClenaghan  
Kerrie Blaise  
FOR THE APPLICANT  
Jacqueline Wilson  
John Terry  
FOR THE RESPONDENT  
James Gotowiec  
Alex Bogach  
SOLICITORS OF RECORD:  
Canadian Environmental Law  
Association  
FOR THE APPLICANT  
Toronto, Ontario  
Torys LLP  
FOR THE RESPONDENT  
Toronto, Ontario  



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