CNL maintains and operates the site under a Government-Owned Contractor-Operated model under agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), who retains ownership of the site and associated liabilities on behalf of the Government of Canada.
The CRL site has undergone significant change in how it is managed and operated. On 2013 February 28, the Government of Canada announced its intention to launch a formal competitive process for the private sector engagement in the management and the operation of the nuclear laboratories.
In 2014, AECL created a Site Operating Company, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AECL, to be operated with essentially the governance, management systems, and the workforce that then existed within the Nuclear Laboratories. Restructuring progressed throughout 2014 with the Site Operating Company being named as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Ltd. on 2014 May 30, following legal incorporation under the Canada Business Corporations Act.
With the standing-up of CNL effective 2014 November 03, CNL assumed full responsibility for day-to-day operations of the nuclear laboratories with the coincident transfer to CNL of all Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licences formerly issued to AECL.
On 2015 June 26, the Government of Canada announcement that the Canadian National Energy Alliance (CNEA) was the preferred bidder chosen to manage and operate CNL, and on 2015 September 13, AECL restructuring was concluded with share transfer from CNL to Canadian National Energy Alliance.