ARCHIVED - How We Operate

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The Process

Site Identification and Research

The Program identifies, gathers information on and researches all legacy sites across Canada. This information, based upon the site’s historical land use, enables the Program to assess the potential presence of UXO at sites.

Prioritization and Risk Assessment

A detailed risk assessment is performed following a site visit where land use is confirmed. The assessment considers the type of UXO that may be present and how likely it is that someone could come into contact with it.


A survey is required to confirm the potential presence of UXO at a site. A survey will provide a geospatial reference point where it is believed UXO are located. There is a variety of technologies that can be used to conduct surveys both on land and in a marine environment. Following careful analysis, selected objects are then safely uncovered by experts to determine whether or not they are UXO.


Communication is one of the department’s key and most efficient means of ensuring public safety and reducing the risk of injury or death associated with UXO. The Program communicates with all stakeholders within a given community to ensure a good understanding of the potential risks as well as the risk management and mitigation actions being taken by the Government of Canada to ensure public safety. Safety messages are communicated through the Program’s website, through safety briefings and videos as well as community public information sessions and media articles. A school program is also delivered in elementary and high schools in communities where there is a high potential for children to encounter UXO.

UXO Clearance

During a clearance operation, UXO are identified and uncovered by a team of trained Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) professionals, and properly disposed of on or off site. Clearance operations are resource and time consuming. Unfortunately, there is no technology available today that guarantee all UXO on a site have been located and removed.

Underwater UXO

Inland water and offshore water sites may be former weapons ranges, munitions dumpsites, the site of a plane crash or a shipwreck; all of which represent special challenges. The survey work of underwater sites involves technologies such as Side Scan Sonar, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and divers. Disposal of any UXO can involve taking it back to land or detonating it in place.