Canada launches new legislation to enhance dangerous goods transportation oversight

Last November 3, 2023, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, unveiled an groundbreaking initiative aimed at bolstering public safety and security concerning the transportation of dangerous goods within Canada.

The revisions to the Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Site Registration Requirements) came into force after publication in the Canada Gazette, Part II on October 25, 2023. These amendments, establish that individuals or organizations involved in importing, offering for transport, handling, or transporting dangerous goods must register in the newly established Client Identification Database. This comprehensive online platform collects crucial information about the entities engaged in these activities, providing Transport Canada with up-to-date, accurate, and complete data.

Client Identification Database: enhancing public safety through information

To ensure public safety, Transport Canada has introduced the Client Identification Database (CID) as part of its commitment to better understand risks and to regulate the importation, offering for transport, handling, or transportation of dangerous goods in Canada.

The CID is a response to previous audits revealing gaps in Transport Canada's knowledge of the regulated community involved in dangerous goods activities, posing a potential public safety risk. The CID aims to address these issues by requiring individuals and organizations engaged in dangerous goods activities to register in the database, providing essential information about their operations.

Thus, applicant (either physical persons or organizations) must provide the following information in the Client Identification Database:

  • The company’s identification (name, address, province(s) of operation);
  • the sites (physical addresses) where dangerous goods are imported, offered for transport, handled or transported; and
  • details of the dangerous goods and their transportation (types of dangerous goods, mode(s) of transportation, type of activity).

Transport Canada's inspectors will have the authority to issue fines of up to $1,000 for non-compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. In extreme or repetitive cases, criminal prosecution may be pursued, and persons or organizations involved in importing, offering for transport, handling, or transporting dangerous goods must register their organizations and sites in the Client Identification Database by October 25, 2024. The government encourages timely compliance to ensure a smooth transition and effective implementation of the new regulations.

Benefits over costs

The anticipated cost of implementing these regulations is $10.64 million over a 10-year period. While there will be a financial burden on the estimated 41,752 small businesses involved in dangerous goods-based activities, the benefits, including enhanced risk analysis and improved decision-making, are expected to outweigh the costs, ultimately contributing to a safer environment for employees and the Canadian public.

Minister Rodriguez emphasized the importance of this initiative in protecting Canadians from potential risks associated with dangerous goods, stating, "In order to protect Canadians, it is necessary to know where dangerous goods are located and how they are being transported. With the new Client Identification Database, Transport Canada will be able to do its work more efficiently to protect Canadians from coast-to-coast."

Sources:

Client Identification Database.

Canada Gazette, Part II: Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.