Evidence of meeting #58 for Justice and Human Rights in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was security.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Terry Jamieson  Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Marie-France Dagenais  Director General, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Department of Transport
Raoul Awad  Director General, Directorate of Security and Safeguards, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
John Davies  Director General, National Security Policy, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Commissioner James Malizia  Assistant Commissioner, Federal Policing Operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Carrying on with that, I understand the transport of categories I, II, and III nuclear materials is covered by the packaging and transport of nuclear substances regulations and requires a licence from your organization.

You touched upon this in some of your earlier comments. What requirements must licensees meet in order to get a licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission?

3:45 p.m.

Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Terry Jamieson

Certainly, they must assure that at all times while the nuclear materials are in their possession, they remain in a safe and secure state. There would be requirements to specify, among other things, the level of protection when the materials are in place, as well as transport security plans when the materials are moved. We physically track the movement of certain classes of nuclear materials on a real-time basis.

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Based on your testimony to Madam Boivin and Mr. Cotler, and from your presentation earlier, it sounds to me as if there's been a lot of infrastructure, a lot of work specific to this. This is basically harmonizing ourselves with our international counterparts as part of wider efforts to curb the use of these materials for terrorist acts.

3:50 p.m.

Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Terry Jamieson

This would be the last step in the broader sense of harmonizing. The physical arrangements are already in place. This just allows us to conclude the legal arrangements.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have no further questions for the witnesses.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Mike Wallace

Thank you very much.

Mr. Mai from the NDP is next.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I, too, want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. And I especially want to thank them for the work they do.

Ms. Boivin touched on the issue of nuclear protection and cooperation between the various organizations. I would like you to comment on the level of cooperation with other countries, such as the U.S. or Russia, as far as sharing information and working with our partners goes.

3:50 p.m.

Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Terry Jamieson

Thank you.

I will answer first, and then I am going to ask Mr. Awad to provide a few details.

We work in lockstep, particularly with our U.S. colleagues. In fact, our training program and protection requirements were largely modelled on the U.S. Department of Energy requirements for the safe protection of items, such as highly enriched uranium.

I'll ask Mr. Awad to add a few details.

3:50 p.m.

Raoul Awad Director General, Directorate of Security and Safeguards, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

We regularly share information with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, the regulator in the United States, and with the Department of Energy on the security aspects of any shipment, of any export or import, across the border. We have in place a formal MOU with them to share this information.

3:50 p.m.

Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Terry Jamieson

In particular, we have formalized arrangements for pre-notification of shipments across our borders. Before any such materials leave the U.S., we're notified and vice versa.

We cooperate quite frequently with the U.S. in training and exercises: we'll observe some of their security exercises and they will observe ours.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Are there other countries with whom we have the same type of relationship for information and things like that?

3:50 p.m.

Director General, Directorate of Security and Safeguards, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Raoul Awad

We also have a formal arrangement with the IEA for anything regarding the illicit trafficking of nuclear material. We are contributors to what they call the illicit trafficking database, the IEA funnel for all the information coming from all over the world about this issue.

In addition, we have some arrangements with other countries, formal MOUs, regulatory MOUs. I don't have the list of these countries, but we can—

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

That's okay.

One of the questions I have is about whether there is anything that prevents us from real exchanges or from more collaboration. From your perspective, did you find anything that maybe we should address in terms of making sure there's better protection, for instance, or a better exchange of information?

3:50 p.m.

Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Terry Jamieson

I would offer that we have a very free exchange of information with our partners, but of course security items are on a need-to-know basis. I do want to assure you that in terms of evaluating the constantly changing threat environment, there's an absolutely free flow of information between countries.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Also, very quickly, because I don't have much time, regarding infrastructure, are there any other measures that you think we should have in terms of protecting the infrastructure here in Canada?

3:50 p.m.

Vice-President, Technical Support Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Terry Jamieson

Again, I would offer my opinion that these facilities, the nuclear power plants and the Chalk River facility, are protected probably to the best extent and the best practical extent that they can be protected. I think this is evidenced by the fact that there has never been an attack on one of these facilities in Canada.

If you recall the case of the Toronto 18 a few years ago, we do have reason to believe that at one point they had considered attacking the Pickering power plant, but upon doing their initial checks of the situation, they determined that the plant was too hardened a target to even consider.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you very much.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Mike Wallace

Thank you.

Our next questioner is Mr. Armstrong from the Conservative Party.

February 11th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm going to direct a couple of questions to our representative from Transport Canada.

Ms. Dagenais, do you think the regulatory framework in Canada is already in a position to accommodate the provisions of Bill S-9?

3:55 p.m.

Director General, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Department of Transport

Marie-France Dagenais

Yes, I believe so. As I say, we work in collaboration with the commission to ensure that the transport is done in a safe manner. They handle more of the security side of things under Bill S-9, but I believe the regulatory framework is quite appropriate right now.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

You talked about different classifications of materials. You said that most of these provisions surround class 7. Can you expand on that a bit and describe what is contained in class 7 as a provision?

3:55 p.m.

Director General, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Department of Transport

Marie-France Dagenais

Under the United Nations classification of dangerous goods, there are different classes. There are about nine classes. All the radioactive materials fall under class 7. That's a specific class for all types of radioactive nuclear materials. That's how it works. You can have class 1, which is explosives. You have liquids. You have solids. They're all classified under the United Nations classification model.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

If any of these goods are being transported within the boundaries of our country, Transport Canada has the responsibility to make sure that we have those provisions in place.

3:55 p.m.

Director General, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Department of Transport

Marie-France Dagenais

Yes, in a safe manner.

We also have a response mechanism, so we also have emergency response assistance plans that are put forward and that are approved by Transport Canada. When nuclear materials are transported, the companies need to have an approved emergency plan, so that if there is an accident, not necessarily related to security, but related to safety, they have measures in place so they can respond in an effective manner to make sure that the danger and the safety of the environment, people, and health are properly handled.

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

If there's a company or a group of individuals in violation of these requirements, I'm assuming that Transport Canada would have some ability to fine them or charge them.