Movement of Dangerous Goods

Some materials and products that move by rail, ship, air or highway within Canada or across our national boundaries are classified as dangerous goods because they are flammable, explosive, toxic or potentially harmful to people or the ENVIRONMENT. Until 1985 their movement was not well regulated.

Dangerous Goods, Movement of

Some materials and products that move by rail, ship, air or highway within Canada or across our national boundaries are classified as dangerous goods because they are flammable, explosive, toxic or potentially harmful to people or the ENVIRONMENT. Until 1985 their movement was not well regulated.

Regulations
Several well-published incidents involving dangerous goods, which forced the evacuation of thousands of people or necessitated millions of dollars' worth of environmental cleanup work, led the federal government to introduce the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, whose regulations became effective in Ontario 1 July 1985, and in the rest of Canada 1 February 1986. The Act was revised in June 1992 and amended again in 2009.

The 2009 amendments to the Act put in place a comprehensive security (terrorist) prevention and response program just like the one that currently exists for accidental releases.

Classification
Each dangerous good is classified into one of 9 hazard classes defined in the Act. Once the product is classified, manufacturers, shippers and transporters of dangerous goods are responsible for proper packaging, labelling and handling. Violation of the regulations can result in fines of up to $100 000.

Documentation
Documentation identifying the dangerous goods being transported must be prepared by the shipper. In the event of an incident during transport, this ensures the contents can be readily identified and appropriate actions taken.

Cargo Tank Standards
As of 1 July 1995, all cargo tanks used for the transportation of dangerous goods must be designed, constructed, inspected and certified as complying with a Canadian standard for the transport of the dangerous goods. These standards continue to be reviewed and updated within a 5-year cycle.

Emergency Response Assistance Plans
Shippers and importers of particularly hazardous dangerous goods are required to have an emergency response assistance plan approved by Transport Canada. These plans are designed to ensure that appropriate technical expertise and equipment are available to first responders in the event of an incident involving these products. If a release occurs, the appropriate authorities must be notified.

See alsoHAZARDOUS WASTES; RAILWAY SAFETY.