Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
Source: Minister of Transport
Published: May 26th 2008

OTTAWA The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today tabled amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 in the House of Commons. The amendments would enhance security and safety in the transport of dangerous goods.

"Our government is committed to ensuring public safety and security when dangerous goods are imported, handled or transported in Canada," said Minister Cannon. "The proposed amendments would make it possible for Transport Canada to prevent and respond to security threats while still maintaining access to markets for Canadians involved in the cross-border transportation of dangerous goods."

The proposed amendments would introduce a number of changes, including the following:

The updated Act would remain focused on the prevention of incidents when dangerous goods are offered, handled, transported or imported. Following the coming into force of the amended legislation, Transport Canada would continue to consult the public, industry, first responders, and provincial and territorial governments as the department drafts the security regulations necessary to support its new authorities.

A backgrounderwith more information is attached.


BACKGROUNDER
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS ACT, 1992

Transport Canada has undertaken extensive consultations on amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. Public consultations began in March 2004, with sessions held across the country. Since June 2005, Transport Canada has hosted several biannual meetings with provincial and territorial governments, and industry to discuss amendments to the Act.

Following the coming into force of the amended legislation, Transport Canada will continue to consult provincial and territorial governments, industry and other stakeholders as the department develops regulations relating to its new authorities under the Act.

Under the amended Act, the safe transport of dangerous goods would remain a shared responsibility among the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and industry. In accordance with established memoranda of agreement, the provinces and territories would continue to work together with Transport Canada to enforce requirements relating to the transportation of dangerous goods on highways. Transport Canada would remain responsible for enforcement relating to transport by rail, ship and air.

The Act and its associated regulations are enforced directly by federal inspectors designated under the Act, and by provincial and territorial inspectors. When infractions are identified, immediate corrective or enforcement action is taken. This could include fines and/or prosecution. Enforcement responsibility would not change with the proposed revisions.

When a shipper plans to transport a dangerous substance, an emergency response assistance plan (ERAP) must be submitted to Transport Canada before shipment takes place. The ERAP outlines the actions the shipper would take in the event of an accident to provide on-site assistance to local authorities. ERAPs are required only for those substances that are potentially most harmful such as certain explosives, flammable substances and toxic gases that may pose a widespread threat in the event of an incident. ERAPs must include detailed information such as, among other things, a list of the dangerous goods being transported, a description of the shipper's emergency response capabilities, a list of specialized equipment available for use at the emergency site, a list of qualified persons available to advise and assist at the scene, and the communications systems expected to be used. The revised legislation would require that ERAPs also be submitted to cover security incidents.

Transport Canada supports emergency response and first responders through the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre (CANUTEC), which is staffed by scientists prepared to assist in responding to emergencies involving dangerous goods. The department also makes copies of the Emergency Response Guidebook available to police and fire departments across the country. The guidebook provides comprehensive information needed to respond to a dangerous goods incident occurring on a highway, aircraft, ship or train.