October 19, 2009 10:31 ET

Government's own study concludes Canadians oppose AECL privatization

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor OTTAWA, ONTARIO, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2009) - Nearly three in four Canadians do not want Atomic Energy of Canada Limited to be privatized, states a study that was commissioned by the Government in early 2009. The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates released the study today, as it had not previously been made public.

SPEA discovered the study on the Library and Archives Canada website.

The survey by Ipsos Reid contacted over 2,000 Canadians as well as conducting five focus groups in Edmonton, Montreal, London, Toronto and Saint John. The research took place in the first quarter of 2009 and cost just over $130,000 according to the Ministry of Natural Resource's proactive disclosure website. A copy of the Ipsos Reid report can be found at: http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/301/pwgsc-tpsgc/por-ef/natural_resources/2009/088-08/report.pdf

Among the key findings are:

* Nearly three in four Canadians agree (72%) that since AECL has been a Crown Corporation for over 50 years it should not now become a private corporation;

* Seven in ten Canadians (70%) say that AECL would benefit Canadians more as a Crown corporation than as a private corporation;

* Seven in ten Canadians (70%) say they would worry about the safety of Canada's nuclear technology if AECL became a fully private corporation;

* The focus group findings were largely consistent with these results. Most participants expressed discomfort with the notion of AECL becoming private;

* For these participants, a private AECL (even a partially private AECL for those most opposed) would entail an unacceptable loss of control over our nuclear technology;

* The nuclear technology used in Canada be retained in companies owned and controlled by Canadians (84%); and,

* New nuclear plants should be based on Canadian-developed technology (73%).

Dr. Michael Ivanco, Vice President of SPEA told a news conference, "SPEA believes that public concerns around the privatization of AECL are well founded. Put simply, the privatization of AECL could lead to the loss of Canada's successful nuclear industry just as AECL is poised to reap the benefits of a worldwide nuclear renaissance."

SPEA has met with government officials as they ponder the future of AECL and stressed that over 30,000 high tech jobs are at risk that generate over $5 billion to the Canadian economy. The organization believes that a renewed commitment to AECL will allow it to compete and become a homegrown success where all the major elements are designed and produced in Canada.

"We support restructuring of AECL to allow it to take advantage of growing international opportunities," said Ivanco. "However, like most Canadians, we believe that continued government control is imperative and we must ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from this uniquely Canadian, internationally successful technology. As it considers the future of AECL, we urge the government to listen to the views of Canadians."


The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) is an independent union that represents engineers and scientists who work for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and is one of the oldest professional unions in Ontario. Over half of the membership have advanced university degrees. SPEA members are engineers of every type (civil, mechanical, electrical etc.) as well as scientists and MBAs. Collectively SPEA represent most of Canada's nuclear power reactor design expertise.
/For further information: Michelle Duncan

Contact Information

  • Michelle Duncan, External Relations, Society of Professional Engineers and Associates
    Primary Phone: 416-427-3525
    Secondary Phone: 905-823-3606
    E-mail: duncanm@spea.ca