Ontario Isotope Motion Passes Legislature Unanimously

November 2, 2021: Today in the Ontario legislature, a Private Member’s motion introduced by Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker passed with all party support.

The motion asserted Ontario’s global role as a leader in the supply of medical isotopes to fight COVID, keep hospitals safe, and fight cancer.

“What makes me so passionate about this file is two things,” Walker said. “First and foremost, my family like many others, has been impacted by cancer and we have an obligation to lead and provide hope. Second, Ontario is a leader in medical isotopes and the world is counting on us to provide leadership in the development, production, and export of these isotopes to keep hospitals clean and safe, diagnose, and treat cancer.

“With the passing of this motion, Ontario’s leaders have demonstrated their ability to come together and support a sector that is fundamental to our health care system and improving patient outcomes all around the world,” MPP Walker added.

The motion passed today in the legislature government read as follows:

“Recognize the supply of medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer and the sterilization of medical equipment as a key strategic priority for the Province in its health, economic, export, inter-provincial, energy, research and infrastructure planning and policies as Ontario recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the Province leverage its existing strong foundation in nuclear technology, isotope production and supply chain, and cancer and health research to position itself as a global leader in supply of ‘Made in Ontario’ life-saving medical isotopes to the world.”

“The importance of medical isotopes from Ontario to patients around the world knows no ideology or political boundaries,” said James Scongack Chair of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council. “This is truly a non-partisan issue that we can all agree on that puts patients first. By voting in support of this motion today, government is demonstrating its ability to come together and work toward a common goal that helps fight cancer and save lives.”

With a critical mass of capability, a storied history, and access to essential infrastructure, the Ontario isotope ecosystem is at the forefront of medical isotope technology. It continues to innovate to meet future needs created by the increasing demand for existing medical isotopes and the developing demand for new ones. Investments in new production routes that increase production capacity and expand availability are ongoing.

“This motion is a step forward for our patients in Ontario and Canada to have access to a growing field of radiolabeled cancer treatments that can target individual cancer cells. The field is moving at a fast pace and why I am grateful as an oncologist to see such a major step forward being taken now to improve patient care,” said Dr. Arjun Sahgal Radiation Oncologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Additionally, the Ontario and Canadian ecosystem includes a network of producers, typically operators of cyclotrons and associated processing facilities, which directly supply their local hospitals and research institutes but do not make their products available on a commercial basis.

“Canada and Ontario have played a key leadership role in establishing the value of medical isotopes and have cemented themselves as a global leader in production and supply,” said Dr. Karin Stephenson, the CNIC’s Chief Scientific Officer, and the Manager of Commercial Operations for McMaster University’s Nuclear Operations and Facilities. “Key infrastructure has been harnessed and developed, and an ongoing investment in people and skills has led to Canada developing one of the most sophisticated and supportive medical isotope production ecosystems in the world.”

“This passed motion supporting the Ontario isotope ecosystem will help provide essential support to the world’s health care sector and an environment that will support and allow businesses producing or using medical isotopes to prosper,” Dr. Stephenson added.

With CNIC trade missions to both Europe and the U.S. just days away, momentum for this sector is at an all-time high. From here, the CNIC hopes to build on this momentum with the passing of this motion to other provinces across Canada and to the federal government.

About the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council

The CNIC is a coalition of science, health care and nuclear sector organizations to ensure Canada remains a world leader in the production of life-saving isotopes by bringing awareness and supporting long-term policies at the domestic and international level that will save countless lives and support health-care innovation for decades to come. To learn more about the CNIC visit www.CanadianIsotopes.ca and follow us on, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Thiele
Executive Director
Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council