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Canada and Ontario Co-operate to Protect Workers at Nuclear Generating Facilities

Safe At Work Ontario
  • Issued: November 2011
  • Content last reviewed: November 2011

Canada and Ontario are working together to protect workers at Ontario’s Bruce, Darlington and Pickering nuclear generating facilities.

On July 12, 2011, the federal government’s Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formally establishes this working relationship. They will:

  • Support each other in fulfilling their respective mandates
  • Offer each other training on their respective legislation and regulations
  • Co-ordinate enforcement activities, including joint workplace inspections
  • Conduct joint planning and consultation on policies and programs
  • Facilitate entry into workplaces under joint jurisdiction
  • Share information, health and safety data and technical expertise where authorized
  • Notify each other of incidents that may affect their respective legislative responsibilities and mandates.


Two key pieces of legislation govern workplace health and safety at nuclear generating facilities in Ontario:

Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA)

Administered and enforced by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the NSCA includes provisions to:

  • protect people (includes both the public and workers) from risks associated with nuclear energy and nuclear substances, and
  • protect the environment from risks associated with nuclear energy and nuclear substances.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Enforced by the Ministry of Labour (MOL), the OHSA includes provisions relating to:

  • employers’ duties (e.g., the general duty to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances), and
  • a worker’s general right to refuse unsafe work.


Canada and Ontario each have a role at the nuclear generating facilities.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

  • Regulates the facilities and all nuclear-related activities, including licensing and radiation exposure limits
  • Investigates alleged violations of the NSCA.

Ontario Ministry of Labour

  • Oversees overall worker health and safety – which may include responding to matters that involving radiation – and more typical matters such as hazards involving falls, personal protective equipment, etc.
  • Investigates all work refusals, worker complaints and incidents.

Shared role

  • MOL will work closely and cooperatively with the CNSC when investigating health and safety matters involving possible worker exposure to nuclear radiation.

More information

  • Protecting Workers at Nuclear Generating Facilities
  • Memorandum of Understanding