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The purpose of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Act and Regulations is to promote public safety when dangerous goods are being handled, offered for transport or transported by road, rail, air, or water (marine). TDG also establishes safety requirements.
Note: The information below is provided as guidance only. Always check the TDG Act and Regulations to ensure compliance.
Please also see the following documents in this series:
A product is considered to be a dangerous good when one of the following conditions is met:
The TDG Regulations are a set of rules that prescribe safety standards and shipping requirements for thousands of different dangerous goods. The Regulations also provide a means of communicating the nature and level of hazard and risk associated with these dangerous goods. The key elements of TDG Regulations are:
Training is the most important element. Employees must receive training before they handle dangerous goods.
There are both federal and provincial TDG Regulations. Provincial and territorial requirements typically parallel the federal regulations. Generally, the provincial TDG Regulations apply to the handling and transportation of dangerous goods within the Province on highways, as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act and on rail vehicles that are within the provincial jurisdiction.
This OSH Answers document provides an overview of the federal TDG Regulations. Should you need additional information, contact the TDG Provincial/Territorial Regulatory Agencies directly.
Anyone who handles (ships, transports, and receives) dangerous goods by road, rail, air, or water (marine) must comply with the TDG Regulations. Handling is defined in the TDG Act as:
“handling means loading, unloading, packing or unpacking dangerous goods in a means of containment for the purposes of, in the course of or following transportation and includes storing them in the course of transportation (manutention)”
The federal TDG Regulations apply to everyone. The regulations even apply when a member of the public transports dangerous goods such as gasoline, oxygen, and propane for personal use. However, certain exemptions exist for small quantities or for specific situations.
In most cases, there are three main groups of people who handle, offer for transport, or transport dangerous goods who must comply with TDG. These groups are:
The TDG directorate has published a competency checklist.
If you are the manufacturer and if your product meets the definition for a dangerous good (and if the dangerous good is not exempt under the TDG Regulations), then the product is regulated under the TDG Regulations. In this case, you must comply with the TDG legislation.
Be sure to examine all of the TDG requirements. For example, if your product is not listed in Schedule 1 or Schedule 3, you must test your product according to Part 2. If the product meets any of the classification criteria in Part 2, then it is regulated under the TDG Regulations.
Keep the classification information in case an inspector or a customer requests for a proof of classification (see further below).
If you are a distributor or an employer and need to ship or re-direct a product, check with the manufacturer/consignor or the transportation section (Section 14) in the safety data sheet (SDS) to find out if a product is regulated. If you do not have an SDS and the manufacturer or distributor are no longer in business, you will need to determine whether the product is a dangerous good in the same way as a manufacturer does.
When the following three conditions are met, the TDG Regulations will apply:
When the above conditions are met, all of the steps in transportation must be done in compliance with the TDG Regulations, including those segments taking place within a facility (e.g., loading, unloading, labelling, placarding, etc.). Note that TDG Regulations generally do not apply when dangerous goods are moved only within the company's building, facility or private property.
Most exemptions, which are called special cases, are listed in Part 1 under Sections 1.15 to 1.49. Special cases may exempt the product from:
Yes. A product may not allowed to be shipped (forbidden) by either a specific route or by all routes. An example is UN1770 Diphenlymethyl bromide which is forbidden by ship as indicated in Schedule 1. Chlorine dioxide is an example of a product that is forbidden by all routes as indicated in Schedule 3 with an entry of Forbidden in Column 2 - Hazard Class.
The following steps must be followed in the order they are presented below.
Before employees can ship dangerous goods, they must be trained or be under the direct supervision of a TDG certified employee. Training is not required when an exemption applies.
For additional information, see the OSH Answers on TDG - Training requirements.
The consignor or shipper is responsible for determining if a product meets one or more criteria for dangerous goods.
The consignor may use the classification made by the manufacturer or a previous consignor. However, the consignor is responsible for making a proof of classification available to the Minister if requested.
For additional information, see our OSH Answers on TDG - Classification.
A proof of classification is a document that the consignor must provide, upon request, to the federal Minister of Transport. This document may be:
The proof of classification must include the following information:
The TDG Directorate keeps a list of laboratories that provide dangerous goods analysis and classification. The TDG Directorate has not examined or certified any of the laboratories listed. Being on this list does not mean Transport Canada or the TDG Directorate endorses or approves their services.
The consignor is responsible for certifying that the dangerous goods are properly packaged, classified, and identified. The selection of containment for dangerous goods depends on number of factors. These factors include:
Most means of containment standards in Canada are based on the United Nations (UN) Recommendations. UN standardized means of containment are internationally recognized and can be used anywhere in the world and by any mode of transport. However, some means of containment standards are specific to Canada. Canadian means of containment will display the TC marking. The TC mark means of containment can be used in Canada. A TC/DOT dual marking will be used if the specifications to which they are manufactured also correspond to American standards for Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications.
A dangerous goods safety mark can be a label, placard, orange panel, sign, mark, letter, word, number or abbreviation, or any combination of these things. Safety marks provide quick identification of the dangerous goods’ and their hazards.
The type of dangerous goods marks required will depend on the size of the container and on the classification of the dangerous goods. If the individual containment is 450 liters or less, a label is required. If the containment is greater than 450 litres, a placard is required. The type of label or placard required depends on the dangerous goods class. This information is specified in Part 4 and TDG’s bulletin on safety marks.
As a minimum, the shipping document must contain:
In some cases, you may need to include more information, such as:
Yes. When dangerous goods of different classifications (e.g., Class 3 flammable liquids and Class 8 corrosives) in containers are loaded in a vehicle, the goods may need to be segregated if the dangerous goods are incompatible (i.e., the products may react together in case of a spill).
In general, segregation applies to packages as well as to transport vehicles. The intention is that:
Guidance on segregation is provided in the TDG Spring-Summer 2000 Newsletter.
Information on cargo securements is provided in the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators CCMT’s Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement and in their National Safety Code Standard 10 Cargo Securement
In an emergency involving dangerous goods, call CANUTEC at 1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832) or 613-996-6666 or *666 on a cellular phone.
Incidents can occur while dangerous goods are being transported, while they are handled, or during temporary storage waiting for transport. In an incident involving dangerous goods, there is a requirement to report the incident if it meets the reporting requirements defined in the TDG Regulations. Consult Part 8 for information on these reporting requirements.
Generally, yes there is. However, there are some exceptions.
Training documents - Transport Canada recognizes:
The U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will accept a Canadian driver's TDG training certificate in lieu of a HazMat endorsement.
Labels and placards - In general, labels and placards from the United States are accepted in Canada by virtue of the reciprocity that exists between the two countries. However, this reciprocity does not apply to American labels and placards for dangerous goods included in Class 2.3 and Class 6.1 (Paragraph 9.1(1)c)). For these two classes, labels and placards must be those required by the TDG Regulations.
More detailed information is provided in TDG's bulletin on shipments from the US to Canada.
Air - When transporting dangerous goods with an aircraft, comply with Section 12.14 of the TDG Regulations for domestic flights or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions for international flights.
Marine - Generally Canada regulates marine transportation of packaged dangerous goods under two different Acts and related safety regulations:
Whether or not the TDG Regulations are provincial or federal, they are enforced by the province as the TDG Directorate (who is responsible for the federal TDG Regulations) has a Memorandum of Understanding with each province and territory. Trans-border shipments are also enforced by Canada's Border Service Agency (CBSA).
The penalties for not complying are substantial. For example, any person who contravenes or disobeys the TDG Act can be charged with:
The above penalties can be found in the TDG Act.