Report urges improvement at nuclear safety regulator, Department of Fisheries


OTTAWA – Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand tabled her fall audits to the House of Commons Tuesday. Some of her key recommendations:

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

— A planning process for site inspections at nuclear power plants in Canada, including figuring out the minimum number, frequency and kind of inspections and whether the agency has enough staff to carry them out.

— Requiring inspectors to follow procedures, including developing and using inspection guides that contain approved criteria for determining whether nuclear power facilities are complying with regulatory and license requirements.

— Figure out why it takes so long to issue final reports and decide whether they need to make any changes to its standards or processes to help move things along.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

— Set priorities, targets and timelines for having plans in place to manage all major fish stocks, which should include plans to rebuild fish stocks considered to be at critical levels, and make those plans public.

— Review the scientific surveys it does to measure the abundance of fish stocks, in order to identify gaps and adjust things accordingly.

— Improve controls over third-party fisheries observer programs to in order to ensure they produce timely data and mitigate any real or conflict of interest between observers and fishery companies.

Sustainable Development Strategies

— The fall audit also looked at whether the following five government departments were adequately implementing environmental assessments on policy and proposals before they reached an individual minister or the wider cabinet and otherwise meeting sustainable development strategy commitments: the Department of Justice, National Defence, Parks Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada.

— The report singled out Parks Canada for doing this consistently, and nudged the others to improve.

— Gelfand said the challenge of climate change means that government departments and agencies can no longer only conduct socio-economic analyses without also considering the potential impacts on the environment. “We need to have all three legs to the stool,” she said.

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