About the CNIC
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.
DID YOU KNOW?
Canadian isotopes are used for:
- Diagnostic imaging
- Cancer treatment
- Insect sterilization
- Food irradiation
- Research & Development
from the Chair
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
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 national isotope strategy
The Government of Canada has an opportunity to develop a national isotope strategy that is cross-functionally aligned with various government departments, priorities, and funding programs. Developed in collaboration with industry, the strategy will enable sector research and support all isotope-related activities.
Better data, better focus
The current lack of comprehensive data on isotope usage, facilities, and patient needs makes it difficult to quantify isotope impacts in Canada or have a sense of where isotopes are being used or for what. There is a need for a centralized national inventory of isotope data, which will allow Canada to address information gaps and focus industry efforts.
Secure and expand Canadian talent and expertise
Canada must build on existing expertise within the industry to drive future innovation in isotope production capabilities and fund initiatives to enable research. Canada must invest in the next generation of experts by supporting education initiatives and engaging with academia and industry to develop training programs.
Encourage partnerships with the Canada Infrastructure Bank
Canada must declare its isotope supply as a key element of strategic national infrastructure to allow the isotope industry to access the same funding tools as other major infrastructure projects and enable public-private partnerships.
Increase Canada’s international competitiveness
Expand existing funding programs offered through organizations like Business Development Canada and Export Development Canada to encompass medical isotopes, which will encourage international investment and sector growth.
Provide matching funding programs for the Canadian medical isotope sector
Researching and developing new innovating radiopharmaceuticals takes time and investment. With additional funding support from the federal government earlier in the process, companies in Canada will have additional resources critical to attracting private investment and overcoming commercialization challenges. Canada’s isotope supply should be designated as a key focus area within the Strategic Innovation Fund and specific isotope funding programs should be explored, similar to those to advance Net Zero technologies.
Establish a national isotope advisory caucus
A national isotope strategy will benefit from an independent council comprised of national experts to assist government in managing the isotope strategy. The council should consist of representatives from both the public and private sectors and include diverse experts from across the industry.