7-3 Status of the Legal and Administrative Arrangements for High-level Radioactive Waste Management (HLRWM)
Mark Madras & Stacey Ferrara, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP , ON CAN
This paper reviews the evolution of legal and administrative
arrangements for high-level radioactive waste management in Canada.
Canada’s Nuclear Fuel Waste Act and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act
are relevant to the management of high-level radioactive waste. The
Nuclear Fuel Waste Act provides a framework for a future decision in
Canada regarding the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste based
on a comprehensive, integrated and economically sound approach. This
Act provides for the establishment of the NWMO and describes the duties
of the organization: to present the Government of Canada with potential
approaches and realistic recommendations for the management of nuclear
fuel waste; and to implement the adopted approach. The Nuclear Safety
and Control Act gives the CNSC the authority to issue licences for the
mining, production, refining, conversion, enrichment, processing,
reprocessing, packaging, transportation and management of nuclear
substances and decommission of facilities. All of the stages involved
in the disposal of nuclear substances, including interim and long-term
storage and disposal and any transportation between, will require a
CNSC licence. Other Canadian laws of general application that are
relevant to aspects of the management of high-level nuclear waste
include the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, and the
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.
The paper also highlights various provincial and territorial
legislation and regulations addressing nuclear substances, as well as a
number of international treaties and conventions that Canada has
ratified related to the management of radioactive waste and nuclear
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Mark Madras is the Leader of the firm’s Environmental Law National
Practice Group and a senior member and former Leader of its
Transportation Law National Practice Group. He is certified by the Law
Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Environmental Law and is
recognized by the Lexpert Canadian Legal Directory as a leading
practitioner in Canada of environmental and transportation law. Mr.
Madras has been recognized by the Euromoney publication as among the
world’s leading environmental lawyers. Mr. Madras has over 26 years of
Mr. Madras has appeared as counsel before the Canadian Nuclear
Safety Commission and its predecessor the Atomic Energy Control Board.
He was a leader of the Gowlings’ team that designed and instructed a
course for staff and members of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
upon the implementation of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. Mr.
Madras was also lead counsel on an application to the Commission for
approval of the first decommissioning of a nuclear reactor in Canada.
Mr. Madras counsels commercial and industry association clients with
respect to a variety of environmental regulation and liability
concerns, including toxic substance and new substance regulation,
contaminated lands, air and water emissions, dangerous goods
transportation, waste management, international compliance and
remedies, facility auditing, risk assessment, environmental reporting,
emergency preparedness, environmental issues in commercial
transactions, and corporate as well as officer and director
environmental compliance concerns. He represents clients before courts
and administrative tribunals, including in prosecutions, civil claims
and appeals of administrative Orders. He also serves as an advocate for
clients in environmental dispute resolution processes. He has been
accredited as an arbitrator by the Arbitration and Mediation Institute
and has been trained as a mediator.
Mr. Madras is a frequent speaker and writer on environmental law
matters and has appeared at numerous privately organized continuing
education conferences and industry association gatherings, as well as
client and law firms sponsored information forums. He has written and
spoken on a wide range of environmental topics, including hazardous
materials management, environmental auditing, and current trends in
environmental law and regulation.
Mr. Madras is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the
Environmental Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario) (a
former member of the Executive of the Section), the Canadian Transport
Lawyers’ Association (a former Ontario Director and member of the
national Executive) and the Transportation Lawyers Association. Mr.
Madras is past President of the Association for Transportation Law,
Logistics and Policy, an organization of lawyers and transportation
professionals from across North America. He currently serves on the
Board of Directors of Pollution Probe.
Called to the Ontario Bar in 1976, Mr. Madras received his law
degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to joining Gowlings, he was
a partner with Saul, MacLeod & Madras.
Stacey Ferrara is an associate in Gowlings’ Environmental, and Real
Estate and Urban Development National Practice Groups. Her practice is
primarily concentrated in environmental law.
Ms. Ferrara has worked in both the federal and municipal levels of
government in past employment positions that she has held with
Environment Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the
City of Waterloo.
Throughout her employment with Gowlings, Ms. Ferrara has frequently
contributed to the Environmental Bulletin and also co-authored “Is it a
Crime to Burn Oil Wells?” which was published in the energy@gowlings
newsletter. Ms. Ferrara also contributed to the review of legal
environmental issues written by Gowlings’ Environmental National
Practice Group for the Canadian Environmental Directory.
Ms. Ferrara received her Bachelor of Laws from the Faculty of Law at
Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Upon graduation, she also
received recognition for her concentrated studies in the areas of
environmental and business law. While attending law school, Ms. Ferrara
acted as a student-body representative and was also the President of
the law school’s student government, the Law Students’ Society.
Throughout law school, Ms. Ferrara worked as a research assistant for
the school’s Marine Environmental Law Program. She co-authored “The
Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy: Tinkering While the Arctic
Marine Environment Totters” which was written for the Law of the Sea
and Polar Maritime Delimination and Jurisdiction. An expanded version
of this article has also been published in the Denver Journal of
International Law and Policy. Ms. Ferrara also co-authored the report
on the Arctic for the 2001 Yearbook of International Environmental Law.
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Ferrara attended Wilfrid Laurier
University where she earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts while majoring
in environmental studies with a minor concentration in political
science. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 2003 and is a member of
the Ontario Bar Association.