Governance and accountability
Canadians and Indigenous peoples can rest assured that the organization responsible for managing Canada’s used nuclear fuel has a strong governance structure in place.
The NWMO is federally mandated under the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA). Our members are provincially owned Crown corporations that produce used nuclear fuel. As a not-for-profit corporation, the NWMO falls under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act.
We are governed by a nine-member Board of Directors. The member organizations elect the Board, which has a fiduciary duty to the NWMO and includes capabilities in Indigenous culture and financial management, and represents a range of perspectives from within and outside the nuclear industry. The Board takes a leadership role in developing the corporation’s strategic direction, and the NWMO provides an annual report to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources each year, as required by the NFWA.
The Advisory Council, an independent advisory body established under the NFWA, provides ongoing advice to us. Other independent expert bodies offer additional guidance and review on technical, social and Indigenous matters, ensuring the organization is continually pursuing excellence.
The NWMO’s integrated management system ensures we are well equipped to implement our vision while protecting people and the environment for generations to come.
Annual reporting to Minister
Every year, in accordance with the NFWA, the NWMO produces an annual report, which is made public on our website and tabled in Parliament. The Minister issues a statement on it each year that can be read at www.nwmo.ca/ministerstatement.
Every third year, the NFWA requires an expanded version of the annual report, which reports on the previous three years and includes comprehensive comments from the Advisory Council about its progress and findings of the NWMO. The next triennial report will be published in March 2023.
Reporting to member organizations
Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Power Corporation and Hydro-Québec are the founding members of the NWMO. The Membership Agreement and bylaws set out member roles and responsibilities in supporting the objectives of the NFWA and the NWMO’s implementation mandate. The NWMO regularly briefs our member organizations. In accordance with our bylaws, the NWMO’s Annual General Meeting of Members was held in June 2021.
Board of Directors
Chair of the Board: Wayne Robbins
Vice-Chair of the Board: Glenn Jager
President, CEO and Director: Laurie Swami
Directors: Lesley Gallinger, Sean Granville, Michael G. Hare (until May 7, 2021), Ronald L. Jamieson, Jason Nouwens (since May 8, 2021), Josée Pilon, Beth Summers
The Board of Directors convened seven formal meetings in 2021. The minutes can be viewed online (www.nwmo.ca/board).
The Board held its annual strategy session in October 2021 to focus on issues of strategic importance. The Board continued to focus on recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the NWMO’s work. The Board also received regular reports and held its annual meeting virtually with the Advisory Council to discuss relevant topics of importance.
To include Indigenous perspectives, the Board meets annually with the Council of Elders and Youth to exchange ideas and understand decision-making that reflects upon and respects Indigenous peoples’ traditions, customs and values. In 2021, they held a virtual meeting.
Chair of the Board
Vice-Chair of the Board
President, CEO and Director
Ronald L. Jamieson
Committees of the Board
Audit, Finance and Risk (AFR) committee
The AFR committee is responsible for monitoring the integrity of the NWMO’s internal control and management information systems, approving annual financial plans, ensuring the integrity of the NWMO’s reported financial performance, and providing oversight of the NWMO’s pension fund. The AFR committee met five times in 2021, plus one joint AFR-Human Resources, Compensation and Governance (HRCG) committee meeting.
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the committee had five directors: Beth Summers (Chair), Lesley Gallinger, Ronald L. Jamieson, Josée Pilon and Wayne Robbins.
Human Resources, Compensation and Governance (HRCG) committee
The HRCG committee is responsible for overseeing the NWMO’s human resources functions, including compensation practices, human resources policy, organization design, labour relations, the pension plan and governance. The HRCG committee met five times in 2021, plus one joint AFR-HRCG committee meeting.
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the committee had five directors: Lesley Gallinger (Chair), Sean Granville, Josée Pilon, Beth Summers and Wayne Robbins.
Project Oversight committee
The Project Oversight committee provides oversight of the NWMO’s project planning and execution, including safety, recommending new projects for Board approval, project planning and controls, contracting strategies and contractor performance, technical matters and project risk as it relates to the implementation of Adaptive Phased Management. The Project Oversight committee met four times in 2021.
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the committee had four directors: Glenn Jager (Chair), Lesley Gallinger, Jason Nouwens and Laurie Swami.
Through the Siting committee, the Board maintains oversight of the site selection process and manages any identified risks associated with its execution. The committee met four times in 2021.
As of Dec. 31, 2021, the committee had five directors: Ronald L. Jamieson (Chair), Glenn Jager, Sean Granville, Jason Nouwens and Wayne Robbins.
Chair of the Board:
President and CEO:
Vice-President of Site Selection:
Mahrez Ben Belfadhel (until April 30, 2021)
Lise Morton (since March 15, 2021)
Vice-President and Chief Engineer:
Chris Boyle (since Jan. 1, 2022)
Vice-President of Communications:
Chief Financial and Risk Officer:
Vice-President of People and Technology, and Chief Ethics Officer:
Jennifer Spragge (until Dec. 31, 2021)
Vice-President of Human Resources, and Chief Ethics Officer:
Jennifer Spragge (since Jan. 1, 2022)
Vice-President and General Counsel:
Vice-President of Indigenous Relations and Strategic Programs:
Vice-President of Construction and Projects:
Derek Wilson (until Dec. 31, 2021)
Chief Operating Officer:
Derek Wilson (since Jan. 1, 2022)
President and CEO
Vice-President and Chief Engineer
Vice-President of Communications
Chief Financial and Risk Officer
Vice-President of Site Selection
Vice-President of Human Resources, and Chief Ethics Officer
Vice-President and General Counsel
Vice-President of Indigenous Relations and Strategic Programs
Chief Operating Officer
The Advisory Council is an independent and arm’s-length body that reviews and comments on the NWMO’s work, as a requirement of the NFWA.
There are 11 Advisory Council members who represent a broad range of expertise, including engineering, community engagement, public affairs, environment, sustainable development, Indigenous relations, Indigenous Knowledge and community-based research.
David R. Cameron (Chair), Donald Obonsawin (Vice-Chair), Joseph Cavalancia, Monica Gattinger, Sue Hartwig (until Dec. 31, 2021), Dean Jacobs, Diane M. Kelly, Derek Lister, Dougal McCreath, Stella Swanson, Linda Thompson.
The full Advisory Council membership is profiled online at www.nwmo.ca/advisorycouncil.
In 2021, the Advisory Council focused on providing the NWMO with advice in these key areas:
- Site assessment, engineering and technical transportation activities;
- Plans for establishing the final siting decision process and community willingness;
- Partnership development and community well-being funding to support building partnership agreements;
- Assessments of risks related to the NWMO’s work;
- Development of the NWMO’s transportation planning framework;
- Business planning activities;
- Development of the NWMO’s regulatory plans;
- Topics related to used fuel transportation;
- Reconciliation and Traditional Knowledge activities; and
- Technical and social matters related to long-term safety.
David R. Cameron
Diane M. Kelly
Council of Elders and Youth
The Council of Elders and Youth is an independent advisory body with members from First Nations and Métis communities. It provides counsel to the NWMO on how to apply Indigenous Knowledge in implementing Adaptive Phased Management and enhancing the development and maintenance of good relations with First Nations and Métis communities and organizations. More information about the Council of Elders and Youth is available online (www.nwmo.ca/eldersandyouth).
Established by the NWMO in 2009, in collaboration with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Municipal Forum is made up of municipal leaders with experience and expertise on municipal issues and challenges. It provides advice to the NWMO on municipal perspectives and processes to help guide our engagement and outreach. More information about the Municipal Forum is available online (www.nwmo.ca/municipalforum).
Environmental Review Group (ERG)
The ERG was established in 2018 by the NWMO to provide independent expert advice and guidance on environmental programs and impact assessment planning, including engagement and the interweaving of Indigenous Knowledge and western science, as well as international best practices. Made up of professionals from various academic and cultural backgrounds, the group meets quarterly to discuss strategic issues related to assessing potential impacts of the project on the natural environment. More information about the ERG is available online (www.nwmo.ca/erg).
Adaptive Phased Management Geoscientific Review Group (APM-GRG)
The APM-GRG was established by the NWMO to ensure that site evaluations are conducted in a consistent and traceable manner that consistently meets or exceeds best international practices. It reviews and provides guidance on the NWMO’s geoscience site assessment approach, methods and findings. The APM-GRG is comprised of five internationally recognized experts from Canada, Australia, Sweden and Switzerland, who combine extensive multidisciplinary experience in areas relevant to the siting of deep geological repositories in both crystalline and sedimentary rock formations. More information about the APM-GRG is available online (www.nwmo.ca/apmgrg).
Site Selection Review Group
The Site Selection Review Group is made up of three internationally respected members from varied professional backgrounds, who provide independent advice and guidance on the NWMO’s final approach, methods and criteria in advance of the site selection in 2023, to ensure the decision-making process is reasonable, comprehensive, credible and rigorous. More information about the Site Selection Review Group is available online (www.nwmo.ca/peerreview).
Community-Based Transportation Working Group
The NWMO established the Community-Based Transportation Working Group to seek feedback from a broad range of individuals across Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick about how to implement the organization’s transportation planning framework. The working group is made up of individuals acting as independent advisors, bringing forward their own thoughts and perspectives about transportation. Feedback and advice are sought more specifically on envisioning collaborative transportation planning, and on opportunities and challenges related to engagement and dialogue for the transportation program. More information about the Community-Based Transportation Working Group is available online (www.nwmo.ca/transportationworkinggroup).
The NWMO works with leading scientists and experts from universities, in the industry or as part of international research groups, in order to ensure our work is based on the best science. We continue to seek independent external experts to review and comment on our technical work through peer reviews (www.nwmo.ca/peerreview) when publishing research results in scientific journals and at conferences. We also seek out peer reviews or request state-of-science reviews on specific topics be prepared by leading experts.
Integrated management system
The NWMO continues to focus on ensuring our integrated management system supports the ever-evolving work on our project, while meeting the requirements of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. This is of particular importance as we approach the site selection decision in 2023 and the subsequent initiation of the licensing phase of the project.
In 2021, we conducted an end-to-end assessment of our management system to identify opportunities to further improve our governance, to support effective operations and to ensure regulatory compliance. We launched a formal process and tool for assessing risk and determining the appropriate quality assurance requirements. We also evolved the performance assessment program that will be launched in 2022 to more effectively assess compliance with the CSA N286-12 Management System Requirements for Nuclear Facilities, which includes facilities for managing used nuclear fuel.