Transport Minister Lisa Raitt recently let it be known that the
Canadian federal government will for the first time be requiring
some shippers of crude oil by rail or truck to put in place
Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs) under the federal
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.
An ERAP describes what is to be done in the event of a
transportation accident involving certain high-risk dangerous
goods. An ERAP is required for dangerous goods that require
specially trained and equipped emergency response personnel at the
scene of an accident. Intended to assist local emergency responders
by providing them with technical experts and specially trained and
equipped emergency response personnel, ERAPs are presently required
only for the highest level of hazardous goods.
Historically, Transport Canada has considered crude oil
flammable but not highly explosive. However, a 72-unit train
carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic,
Quebec, on July 7, 2013, killing 47 people and destroying much of
the downtown. It was the worst railway disaster in Canadian
history. Another accident involving the explosion of railway cars
carrying crude oil occurred in North Dakota on December 30, 2013.
There were no deaths in this latter accident, which occurred in an
A special Transport Canada working group is developing an ERAP
for crude oil with a target of finalizing it by the end of January
2014. They will have to decide which type of crude oil requires an
ERAP and whether the regulations will differ depending upon the
volume of the oil. Changes to the regulations are expected to be in
place by mid-2014.
Other initiatives regarding dangerous goods
This latest regulatory initiative comes after several others. On
September 11, 2013, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada
issued safety advisory letters to Transport Canada and the United
States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
calling on regulators to review the procedures for suppliers and
companies transporting or importing dangerous goods to ensure the
properties of the goods are accurately determined and documented
for safe transportation. Transport Canada responded on October 17,
2013, by issuing a Protective Direction under s. 32 of the
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 requiring any person
engaged in importing or offering crude oil for transport to
immediately test the crude if it has not been tested since July 7,
2013, and to provide the results to Transport Canada.
On November 20, 2013, another Protective Direction was issued
requiring certain railways to provide emergency planning officials
of each municipality through which dangerous goods are transported
with annual aggregate information on the nature and volume of the
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In Bank of Montreal v Bumper Development Corporation Ltd, 2016 ABQB 363, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench enforced the "immediate replacement" provision in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen 2007 Operating Procedure...
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