About the CNIC

The Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council (CNIC) is an independent organization consisting of representatives from various levels within the Canadian health sector, nuclear industry and research bodies, convened specifically to advocate for our country’s role in the production of the world’s isotope supply.

A secure supply of a diverse portfolio of isotopes is essential to maintaining and improving our standard of living. Isotopes are used every day to verify the safety of our roadways, discover and develop natural resources, test industrial products, and support research in mental health and aging. They are also a major source of clean energy. Isotopes are critical in the health care sector, where they are used not only to diagnose and treat disease, but also to sterilize medical supplies.

The CNIC serves as a voice in safeguarding the continued availability of isotopes, ensuring our public policies are risk-informed and science-based, and support the highest levels of public health and safety. Leveraging existing infrastructure and expertise will have a significant positive impact on human health across the globe, keeping hospitals clean and safe while expanding Canada’s leadership role in the global community by supporting new and innovative treatments.

We thank our members for their commitment to the CNIC.


Canadian isotopes are used for:

  • Sterilization
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Cancer treatment
  • Insect sterilization
  • Food irradiation
  • Research & Development


from the Chair

James Scongack
Chair, Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council

For more than 60 years, Canada has been a leader globally in the research, development and production of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals. This has meant that Canada has been a global leader in the fight against cancer and keeping our hospitals clean and safe. The world has always counted on Canada and it’s for this reason the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council was created to ensure we continue and expand on this leadership position.

Today, more than 10,000 hospitals around the world use medical isotopes for sterilization, diagnostic imaging and cancer treatment. Canada’s nuclear isotope program pioneered a number of medical applications that are used widely today, and much of that work has been focused on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Investments in cancer control, including prevention, early detection and treatment,
have all played a role in increasing the overall survival rate in cancer patients from about 25 per cent in 1940s to 60 per cent today. Continuing to make those investments is critical at a time when the Canadian Cancer Society predicts that one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  There is an even larger number of people all around the world that will be touched directly or indirectly by cancer and these people are counting on Canada.

Medical isotopes also provide a pathway for health-care professionals to improve lives through targeted imaging and therapy that will deliver a specific medical diagnosis and treatment to an individual. They provide the foundation to advance research for improved drug discovery and development.

Canada is a leader in the fight against cancer and disease, but our work isn’t nearly done. It’s a time to make a renewed commitment to finding new programs, products and procedures to improve people’s lives.

That’s what this report is all about. It’s designed to fully articulate our role in a simple,
clean manner while outlining some key steps our policymakers across Canada can take to build on the capacity and leadership position people all over the world are counting on us to play.

“This potential for growth in the isotope space provides an invaluable opportunity to leverage Ontario’s established Nuclear supply chain that has developed over the past several years in support of the ongoing reactor refurbishments at OPG’s Darlington site and the Major Component Replacement program at Bruce Power.  This provides an invaluable opportunity to sustain our ongoing prosperity, which in turn leads to continued investment in our local economy, and the increased employment of long-term, well-paying jobs within our community.”

Darryl Spector, President, Promation

Our Recommendations

The Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council recognizes the opportunity presented by continued Canadian leadership in isotope development and is therefore calling on federal and provincial government officials to take the following important steps:

Develop a Pan-Canadian Strategy for Isotopes

There’s an opportunity with the support of the federal and provincial governments, through a forum such as the Council of the Federation, to adopt a Pan-Canadian strategy which integrates and supports Canada’s leading role in the supply, distribution and development of isotopes for medical and industrial applications.

National Supply Infrastructure Framework

Designate the supply of isotopes as a key element of strategic national infrastructure for domestic and international use, allowing the same access to funding and other tools as is the case with roads, bridges, energy projects and many other initiatives.

Federal Strategic Innovation Fund

Designate Canada’s isotope community as a key focus area within the SIF to help Canada leverage its infrastructure advantage and strong network of researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs to position our country as a global leader in medical isotope innovation.

Break down barriers within Canada and abroad

Removing regulatory red tape will help to accommodate new treatments and new clinical trials to give patients easier access and support the interprovincial trading and international export of critical isotopes.

Technology Applications for Rural, Northern and Remote Regions

Deploy new technologies accessible to Canadians in rural, northern and remote communities that will reduce travel requirements, improve outcomes and equality around the standard of care.

Promote Canadian isotope leadership abroad and continue with international co-ordination

Canada’s focus should be on the promotion of exporting our products, allowing for affordable and reliable cancer care.

Secure Canadian talent and expertise by supporting our isotope research institutions

With government support, we can ensure the right projects are being funded and facilitate partnerships with the private sector to continue leading isotope innovation.

Our Partners

The CNIC isn’t possible without the commitment and investment of our many partners, who share our vision of maintaining Canada’s leadership role in the production and development of medical isotopes.