2017 Annual Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee Meeting / Réunion annuelle 2017 du Comité de radioprotection fédéral provincial territorial
2017 FPTRPC Annual Meeting attendees: Narine Martel (Health Canada), Matthew Rogerson (AB), Robert Rees (YT), Madeleine Fedorowich (ON), Nancy Hounsell (NL), Jonathan Paradis (HC), Martin Benôit Gagnon (QC), Peter Fuhry (ON), Brian Ahier (HC), Colleen Rodgerson (NS), Daniel W. Rickey (MB), Leo Tse (ON), Colin Murray (BC), Brent Preston (SK), and Derek Martinig (BC). Not pictured: Caroline Purvis (CNSC) and Rakhi Radi (Department of National Defence).
About the Committee
Radiation protection is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial/territorial governments. The Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee (FPTRPC) was created in 1993 to advance the development and harmonization of practices and standards for radiation protection within federal and provincial/territorial jurisdictions and to communicate these to the people of Canada. The work of FPTRPC covers a broad range of radiation protection matters, including occupational health and safety, public health and safety, radioactive waste management, and nuclear emergency preparedness, among others.
The committee includes the following organizations:
- Health Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau (assesses and manages the risks posed by radiation exposure in living, working, and recreational environments)
- Health Canada’s Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau (assesses the health and safety risks associated with radiation exposure from devices)
- Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC; regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security, and the environment)
- at least one member from each province/territory (usually in the areas of radiation protection and/or occupational health and safety)
- Department of National Defence (nuclear safety within the Canadian Forces).
Employment and Social Development Canada (occupational health and safety for federally regulated industries) participates as an observer.
FPTRPC held its 2017 annual and business meeting from October 24 to 27 in Ottawa. Executive leaders from both Health Canada and CNSC kicked off the meeting by presenting a broad overview of their respective programming, priorities, and activities over the past year, and providing a preview of the upcoming presentations.
The presentations at the 2017 annual meeting are summarized in the following thematic areas:
Overview of Provincial/Territorial Oversight on Radiation Protection
- The purpose of these presentations was to gain a better understanding of the radiation protection programs in different jurisdictions. Members were asked to elaborate on what types of devices they regulate (X-rays, lasers, etc.), facilities they regulate (medical, dental, chiropractic, etc.), device registration, inspection capacity, regulatory authority delegation, and use of Health Canada’s safety codes.
- Typically, regulatory regimes for X-ray devices used in healthcare settings are administered by the health ministries while those for all other industry sectors are administered by labour ministries or occupational health and safety administrators. There was discussion on the factors for such different approaches, including geographic restrictions, the number of devices in the province/territory, or different risk-management approaches.
- Manitoba and Ontario provided an update on their legislative renewal process, with Manitoba also sharing their best-practice experiences with safety training.
Emergency Response and Recovery
- Health Canada provided an update on the Emergency Preparedness Review, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) initiative to appraise the level of preparedness for nuclear or radiological emergencies.
- CNSC provided an overview of its progress in the development of a framework on recovery from nuclear or radiological emergencies. Its discussion paper is evolving toward a possible regulatory document.
- Ontario provided a provincial perspective and overview on nuclear emergency response planning.
Issues in Biology and Health
- CNSC provided a scientific presentation on how low doses of radiation impact cell response, concluding that the existing framework is sound.
- Health Canada presented an overview of changes to the Fixed Point Monitoring Network to meet IAEA recommendations and reporting.
- Health Canada provided an overview of the National Radon Program, including technical operations, research efforts, and engagement. The program seeks provincial/territorial support to expand awareness, address building codes, and test high-risk facilities.
- Health Canada provided information regarding research on radio frequency and health, including ongoing monitoring of scientific literature, original research on analysis of gene expression in rodent brains, and international initiatives.
- Health Canada outlined its surveillance program for Class 3B and Class 4 laser products, in order to improve regulatory management of such devices.
CNSC Programming and Activities
- Staff from CNSC provided an overview on the assessment of radionuclides in the Great Lakes, the use of nuclear forensics for public safety, challenges in regulating new nuclear reactor concepts, and an update on regulatory amendments to the Radiation Protection Regulations and other regulatory documents (REGDOCS).
- Dr. Michael Binder, CNSC president and chief executive officer, provided his observations on the evolving role of a regulator, based on his 40+ years as a public servant.
Health Canada Programming and Activities
- Updates were provided on the National Dose Registry for monitoring occupational exposure to ionizing radiation and amendments to the dental X-ray equipment standard of the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations (and complementary revisions to Safety Code 30).
- An overview of the medical device inspection program was provided, as many radiation-emitting devices are regulated as medical devices in Canada (e.g., clinical and dental X-ray machines, ultrasound, laser hair removal devices).
Department of National Defence Activities
- This presentation provided an overview of nuclear safety at the Department of National Defence, the use of ionizing radiation devices, the radon testing of buildings, and compliance visits/training.
During its business meeting, the committee heard reports from working groups, discussed the renewal of its business plan, and held an election to finalize its executive membership.
- The three-year business plan was approved. The focus will be on naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) management guidelines, transportation and waste disposal, and radiation dosimetry (multi-badging standards and dose limits for lens of eye).
Working Group Updates
- Tanning Equipment Working Group: With the publication of the revised Guidelines for Tanning Equipment Owners, Operators and Users, the working group has completed its mandate.
- NORM Working Group: Health Canada will lead the development of updated management guidelines for provincial/territorial comment, with the goal of producing an FPTRPC-endorsed document.
- Radiation Dosimetry Working Group: The multi-badging guidance document has incorporated comments from reviewers and will be distributed to members shortly. A public consultation process will follow.
- Radiation in Healthcare Working Group: The work of this group is temporarily suspended while the review of Safety Code 30 (Radiation Protection in Dentistry) is undertaken to complement amendments to the dental X-ray equipment standards of the Radiation Emitting Devices Regulations.
Following the election of a new provincial vice-chair, following is the current FPTRPC executive:
- Federal co-chair: Caroline Purvis, CNSC
- Federal co-chair: Brian Ahier, Health Canada
- Federal co-chair (alternate): Narine Martel, Health Canada
- Provincial/territorial co-chair: Leo Tse, Ontario Health and Long-Term Care
- Provincial/territorial vice-co-chair: Colleen Rodgerson, Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education
As the meeting closed, members were discussing continued efforts to improve the committee’s outreach, particularly due to the fact that many of the annual meeting’s presentations would be of particular interest to other government departments involved in radiation protection, such as those in environmental protection, the resources/mining sector, and emergency management planning. Executive members agreed to explore web streaming as a possible option for future meetings.