Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and Measurement Canada (MC) – an agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada – have made a number of advancements in implementing the Clean Technology Roadmap.
Key thematic outcomes are summarized below, followed by updates on specific initiatives.
Departments and agencies are advancing initiatives that aim to make the regulatory system ready to assess new technology and address regulatory gaps, outdated approaches, and challenges in verifying the performance of environmental technologies.
For instance, to address stakeholder requests for greater clarity on licence application requirements for fusion technology (e.g., nuclear reactors), CNSC contracted industry consultants with expertise in fusion technology to review its regulatory framework. As a result, the Review of the CNSC Regulatory Framework for Readiness to Regulate Fusion Technologies was published in October 2021 and has been shared widely with industry and international nuclear regulators, helping the CNSC to establish a leadership role in regulating fusion technology at the international level. This work was supported by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Centre for Regulatory Innovation.
Departments and agencies are advancing initiatives to support the deployment of clean technologies by making it easier for Canadian companies to move into international markets.
For instance, in 2021, NRCan and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) established a working group to assess codes and standards for low-carbon fuel technology and infrastructure to increase coordination across Canadian and international jurisdictions. The working group is developing an action plan, expected for publication in summer 2023, to ensure codes and standards are continuously being evaluated. Since 2021, stakeholders have been engaged through meetings, seminars, and workshops to develop content for standards regarding hydrogen production, delivery and storage, and end-use. This initiative aims to remove barriers that impede market adoption of clean fuels like hydrogen and advanced biofuels and provide a clear market framework for low-carbon fuel producers, retailers, and others. This work is linked to the 2020-2021 Regulatory Cooperation Council Work Plan: Codes & Standards for Low Carbon Transportation Technologies and Infrastructure.
ECCC conducted a foresight case study exercise from January to March 2022 to improve its ability to anticipate and respond to a range of plausible future scenarios and to gain insights on the future of clean technology in Canada. The exercise resulted in the development of insights and scenarios describing potential developments and disruptions in the clean technology sector. The findings have been shared with regulatory programs and other teams within ECCC to support the department’s capacity to use foresight to help build resiliency in the design of policy and regulatory instruments in support of environmental objectives.
The COVID-19 pandemic intensified a number of challenges for the clean technology sector, such as creating additional work that contributed to procurement delays.
Despite challenges, NRCan and departments and agencies implicated in the Roadmap remain committed to addressing regulatory gaps and outdated approaches, enhancing regulatory cooperation, and working with regulated parties to identify opportunities for novel approaches in the clean technology sector.
Theme 1: Ensuring regulatory readiness to facilitate adoption
Launching the Offshore Renewable Energy Regulations Initiative
- NRCan has been actively working towards establishing a clear regulatory framework for offshore renewable energy in Canada.
- Since the launch of the Offshore Renewable Regulations Initiative in October 2020, NRCan published a What We Heard Report in December 2021 summarizing stakeholder feedback on NRCan’s approach to regulating offshore activities; and consulted with the public in 2022 on the technical requirements that serve as the foundation for the future proposed regulations.
- The offshore renewable energy regulations (ORER) under the Canadian Energy Regulator Act are nearing final draft, with publication of the proposed Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I targeting early 2024.
- In May 2023, Bill C-49 was introduced into Parliament which proposes to amend the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Atlantic Accord Implementation Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act (“Accord Acts”) to expand the joint management regime in the offshore areas of those two provinces to include renewable energy projects. Once passed, NRCan expects to replicate, to the extent possible, the ORER under the amended Accord Acts.
Reviewing Liability Limits for Small Modular Reactors
- Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) hired a third-party contractor to conduct a risk analysis and recommend liability limits for designated low-risk facilities. The results of this contract are expected by summer/fall 2023. Based on the results of the risk analysis, NRCan may consider regulatory amendments to the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Regulations to include new categories of low-risk installations.
Examining Regulatory Readiness to Review Fusion Technology
- The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), with support from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Centre for Regulatory Innovation, established a request for proposal in spring 2021 to contract for external parties (including academia, industry consultants with demonstrated expertise in fusion technology) for a review of the Commission’s regulatory framework (Act, Regulations and regulatory documents) readiness for fusion technology.
- The study, completed in October 2021, confirmed that the Commission’s regulatory framework can safely regulate fusion technologies.
Improving Nuclear Regulations Costing
- The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), with support from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Centre for Regulatory Innovation, issued a contract in summer 2020 for a study of how the Commission might improve how it calculates the costing of changes to its regulations.
- The study was completed in spring 2021. Findings will support future CNSC reviews of regulatory costing.
Evaluation of the Use of Artificial Intelligence Safety Cases in the Canadian Nuclear Industry
- In January 2022, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) launched a Request for Proposal for a research project to determine what effect the potential introduction of artificial intelligence in the Canadian nuclear industry might have on the CNSC’s regulatory framework.
- The CNSC received the final report and will provide a synopsis later this year (2023) on the CNSC website under Technical papers, presentations and articles. The full report may be requested from the CNSC.
Theme 2: Enhancing coordination across jurisdictions
Developing and Harmonizing Codes and Standards for the Production, Distribution, and Use of Clean Fuels
- Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Standards Council of Canada launched a codes and standards Working Group in 2021 to identify critical gaps for hydrogen production, delivery, storage, and end-use. A codes and standards roadmap and action plan is expected for publication in December 2023.
- NRCan supported the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Group in the development and alignment of codes, standards and regulations for hydrogen, clean fuels and electrification of transport between 2021 and 2022.
Innovation and Electricity Regulation
- Natural Resources Canada engaged with stakeholders in 2020-2021 and aims to continue stakeholder engagements in 2023 to inform federal programming and accelerate net zero innovations within provincial regulatory frameworks.
- Results from the 2020-2021 engagements were published on the IERI webpage.
Theme 3: Novel regulatory approaches
Reducing Barriers to Innovative Measuring Devices
- Measurement Canada (MC) proposed the creation of an innovation space in the Weights and Measures Act through the second Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill (Bill S-6, An Act respecting regulatory modernization), which was introduced in the Senate on March 31, 2022. On June 22, 2022, Bill S-6 passed its first reading in the House of Commons and as of May 2023, is at the second reading stage. This change would enable innovative measuring technologies to be used in the market with appropriate regulatory oversight by allowing the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to issue temporary permissions for devices that have not been approved or inspected by MC.
- In February 2023, MC launched a public consultation to seek feedback on its vision to modernize the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act and the Weights and Measures Act, and will publish a What We Heard Report in fall 2023.
Clean Technology Foresight Exercise
- Between January and March 2022, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) conducted a clean technology foresight exercise to gain insights on the future of clean technology in Canada. This work was supported by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Centre for Regulatory Innovation.
- In June 2022, ECCC hosted a roundtable conversation to discuss findings from the clean technology exercise and gain additional perspectives and insights on the future of clean technology in Canada.
- A report summarizing the findings is available on ECCC website.
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