Transport Canada ("TC") recently proposed amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (Canada) ("TDGR"), which would require any person who imports, offers for transport, handles or transports dangerous goods to register in a new online database and to provide to TC certain administrative information regarding their activities related to dangerous goods, subject to certain exceptions. TC is accepting comments on the proposed amendments by interested parties until September 3, 2022. Comments can be made directly through the Canada Gazette Part I webpage.

The proposed amendments are in response to audits conducted regarding TC's dangerous goods program, which indicated that TC did not have enough information about who was involved in the importation, offering for transport, handling or transportation of dangerous goods, along with information about the risks of some products and operations in order to appropriately identify and prioritize sites for inspection based on risk level.

The database would require registrants to provide information such as their CRA business number, business name and contact details, addresses of sites where dangerous goods activities are conducted, the type of activity conducted, classes and divisions of dangerous goods, and the mode of transport. Additional information would need to be provided for higher risk dangerous goods, such as UN numbers, Emergency Response Assistance Plan approval numbers, and the prior year's quantity range and number of consignments. Higher risk dangerous goods will be those referred to in section of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, in subsection 456(1) of the Explosives Regulations, 2013, and in section 7.2 of the TDGR (for example, ammonium nitrate, potassium chlorate and chlorine gas).

The registration would be renewed on an annual basis and would require ongoing updates within 30 days of any changes to the administrative information provided to TC.

The amendments would introduce the following new definition for a "Site" into Part 17 of the TDGR: "a place where dangerous goods are imported, offered for transport, handled or transported, but does not include a means of transport."

Certain exemptions to registration would include, among others: (i) persons who utilize a Special Cases exemption under Part 1 of the TDGR (except for the 500kg Gross Mass and 3000kg Gross Mass Farm Retail exemptions); (ii) persons who import, offer for transport, handle or transport dangerous goods that are exempted under a special provision in Schedule 2 of the TDGR (such as certain small quantities of explosives); (iii) selected lower risk persons such as mail services and courier companies; (iv) persons engaged in cross-border movements that do not have headquarters or operate a Site in Canada; (v) foreign carriers engaged in cross-border movements that do not have headquarters or own a Site in Canada where transport activities take place; (vi) oil well operators; and (vii) self-employed commercial truck owner-operators where they only import, offer for transport, handle or transport dangerous goods within Canada.

The TDGR amendments propose a transition period for compliance that will depend on whether the person is already engaged in regulated activities at the time that the amendments come into force. Those who are already involved would have one year to comply with the amendments while those who start operations after the coming into force would have to comply within 90 days from the date that their operations begin. A graduated enforcement scheme will likely apply, including but not limited to education, warnings, and/or fines of between $500 and $1000.

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