Resources to support participation (funding and expertise)

The NWMO's Learn More Program makes available resources (information and funding) to support participation in early steps of the site selection process.


    Resource programs will continue to evolve to ensure communities have the support they need at each step in the process.

    Communities requesting preliminary assessments in Step 3 are eligible to receive resources for capacity building and engagement. These resources help enable a community to learn about the project, reflect on its interest, encourage local discussion and dialogue, and participate in studies throughout preliminary assessment.

    Resources for Phase 2

    Resources are available to support interested communities involved in Step 3: Phase 2 - Field Studies and Engagement.

    Resources are also available to Indigenous communities in the area, as well as to neighbouring municipalities.

    Further information is contained in the following documents:

    Previous Resource Programs

    The programs below were previously available in the earlier stages of Step 3: Preliminary Assessments of Suitability. These programs have been replaced with the initiatives outlined above, but remain available below for reference.

    Resources for Communities Involved in Phase 1

    The program launched in 2012 and included the following initiatives:

    • Funding to community for administrative expenses associated with co-ordinating community activities to learn more: Upon request, resources will be made available to communities for expenses incurred through participating in Step 3: Phase 1 - Desktop Studies and Engagement. This may include costs associated with a community working group, advertising (e.g., events and newsletters), and professional fees or part-time staff resource support. This may include funding to community to cover expenses of municipal staff associated with communications among staff and Council, payroll, accounts payable, tracking receipts, phone, fax, email, etc. related to the Learn More process and travel expenses for meetings with surrounding communities or region. An accounting must be kept of activities and money spent suitable for third-party audit. Up to $75,000 of funding will be provided over a 12-month period.
    • Community planning: Funding to community to develop and/or augment an existing long-term vision for community sustainability, integrated community sustainability plan and/or strategic plan in order to support their further consideration of the project. Communities may wish to consider this project in the context of their long-term interests. Such a broad approach would help highlight the resources (social, economic and environmental) of the community and pave the way for thinking about how the project may affect the community on a variety of dimensions. Ultimately, the vision for the community and the extent to which the project contributes to this vision in an acceptable way is a matter for the community to discuss and assess. The community – as represented by accountable authorities – may request and receive resources to develop and/or augment an existing long-term vision for community sustainability, integrated community sustainability plan and/or strategic plan up to $40,000.
    • Independent advice: Funding to community for third-party review, hiring a consultant, studies and provision of expert advice to the community is available. Upon request, we will provide small amounts of funding to geographically defined communities to assist in the hiring of independent expert advice, including advice designed to help build their understanding of the project, and the basis for confidence in safety. In order to be qualified, third-party experts must be recognized as experts in their field, as demonstrated by teaching in a relevant area at a Canadian university and/or through working in an established Canadian consulting firm with a demonstrated track record in this area. Proposals for independent expert advice of up to $40,000 will be considered. (Important note: In the course of our work over the past 10 years, we have engaged a wide variety of consultants and universities across Canada and internationally to conduct studies and reviews which have contributed to the development of Adaptive Phased Management. As part of the site selection process, communities are eligible to receive funding to seek studies and advice from expert third parties. In considering possible third parties to provide studies and advice, communities are encouraged to enquire whether these expert individuals or organizations have completed work for us in the past, or other organizations involved in this issue, and to seek a description of the nature of this work. This information may assist the community in assessing the independence of individuals and firms to provide studies and advice. In order for a community to be eligible for funding to cover the cost of expert studies or advice from a consultant which has previously completed work for us, the consultant must demonstrate that they can ensure the independence of the work it would conduct for the community.)
    • NWMO-initiated meetings: We may also initiate meetings for which modest participant expenses are covered, consistent with our participant expense guidelines   
    • Other activities: Funding to cover costs associated with other activities will be considered upon request and then made available to all communities participating in Step 3 of the site selection process.

    The program was further evolved in response to community requests with the addition of the following initiatives:

    • Support for visit to interim storage facility for community liaison committees: We cover travel expenses for committees in communities involved in the site selection process to visit an interim waste storage facility in Ontario or other nearby facility, consistent with our participant expense guidelines.
    • Travel expenses associated with visit to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for community liaison committees: We cover travel expenses for committees in communities in the site selection process to learn more about the regulatory framework governing the long-term management of used nuclear fuel by meeting with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). The timing and agenda for the meeting is established directly by the CNSC in concert with the committee, in order to ensure the committee's areas of interest and questions are addressed. We are informed once the meeting has taken place and reimburse the travel expenses of committee members associated with attendance at the meeting, consistent with our participant expense guidelines.

    Resources for Indigenous Communities in Phase 1

    We wish to work together with Indigenous communities that are in the vicinity of the communities involved in Step 3 and are learning about the project in order to understand traditional and contemporary perspectives in answering the question: "How might traditional and contemporary views regarding land stewardship help us understand how a major development project, such as that proposed by the NWMO, must be implemented?"

    A program of resources is made available to Indigenous communities at both the local and regional level. We are seeking to answer the following questions:

        Which Indigenous peoples live in the area which is in the vicinity of the communities involved in the site selection process and need to be involved in decision-making?
        Are there cultural practices and traditional laws of which we should be aware?
        How might Indigenous peoples in the area be respectfully involved in learning about the project and decision-making on the path forward?
        How is well-being defined by the community or regional area, and what is the vision for the area today and over the long term?
        What is the traditional, historical and current use of the land and area?
        What are the considerations in deciding where and how the project will be implemented, and how the well-being of the people and the environment in the area will be assured?

    Resources are available to Indigenous communities and regional organizations in the vicinity of communities in the siting process in the early stages of Step 3:

    Acknowledgement and Community Well-Being Funding Programs

    The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) implemented Acknowledgement and Community Well-Being funding programs to recognize community leadership in advancing Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel. Administered by communities, the funding is intended to support continuing community efforts to build community sustainability and well-being. Since inception, nine First Nations and 25 municipalities have benefitted from the programs.

    The acknowledgement funding program has focussed on Municipal and Indigenous communities that initially entered the site selection process and neighbouring communities actively involved in the learning process in each siting area. Funding levels have been distributed in a manner that is sensitive to levels of participation and role of each community.


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    Steps in the site selection process

    Step 3: Preliminary assessments of suitability
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    Steps in the site selection process

    Step 3: Phase 1 - Desktop studies and engagement