OTTAWA — A few amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act were recently tabled in an effort to enhance security and safety in the transport of, coincidentally enough, dangerous goods.
The updated act – which was introduced in 1992 – would remain focused on the prevention of incidents when dangerous goods are offered, handled, transported or imported.
"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," said Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
The main amendments to the 1992 Act fall into two categories: safety and security.
The more significant security items include requiring security plans and security training; requiring a transportation security clearance for the dangerous goods, including an appeals process; enabling the use of Security Measures and Interim Orders (as in the Public Safety Act and 10 other existing Parliament Acts); and enabling regulations to be made to require dangerous goods are tracked during transport or reported if lost or stolen.
The main safety items include reconfirming the act is applicable uniformly throughout Canada, including to movement of dangerous goods within a province not using a federal carrier or shipper; reinforcing and strengthening Emergency Response Assistance Plan Program – including enabling the use of Emergency Response Assistance Plans to respond to a terrorist release of dangerous goods; enabling inspectors to inspect any place for which a means of containment is being manufactured, repaired or tested (under a warrant if it is a private dwelling); changing the concept of importer so that it is clearer who is the importer in Canada that needs to meet the obligations of the act; and
enabling a shipping record to be used in court as evidence of the presence of a dangerous good in a means of containment.
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.