Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies in various industries have quickly shifted their operations to meet the growing demand for essential supplies, including hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizer may seem like a relatively simple and safe household product, it is considered a "dangerous good" under the complex Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDGA) and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR), which impose obligations on persons involved in the handling, transporting, and offering for transport of dangerous goods.

On April 4, 2020, Transport Canada issued Temporary Certificate TU 0752: Hand Sanitizer, relaxing certain requirements applicable to the handling, offering for transport, and transporting of hand sanitizer.

The effect of the Temporary Certificate is to simplify some of the obligations related to hand sanitizer for new producers that may not have the required training or appropriate resources to comply with the TDGR. It does so by:

  1. exempting the application of certain parts of the TDGR, and
  2. setting out specific requirements that apply in its place.

Those handling, offering for transport, or transporting hand sanitizer are required to familiarize themselves with the conditions of the Temporary Certificate, and must comply with the temporary specific requirements.

Does the Temporary Certificate Apply to your Product?

For the Temporary Certificate to apply, the hand sanitizer must be one of the following:

  • UN1170, ETHYL ALCOHOL SOLUTION or ETHANOL SOLUTION containing at least 60% ethanol by volume but not more than 80% ethanol by volume,
  • UN1219, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL or ISOPROPANOL containing at least 60% isopropanol by volume but not more than 80% isopropanol by volume,
  • UN1987, ALCOHOLS, N.O.S., containing at least 60% ethanol and/or isopropanol by volume but not more than 80% ethanol and/or isopropanol by volume.

In order for the certificate to apply, the dangerous goods must be used as a hand sanitizer.

If you are not producing one of the above classifications of hand sanitizer, but are producing something similar, the exemptions under this regulation will not apply, and you should confirm whether your product otherwise falls under the TDGA and TDGR as you may still have obligations that you must meet.

What do You Need to Know?

The Temporary Certificate authorizes the handling, offering for transport, transport, or importation of hand sanitizer in a road vehicle, railway vehicle or a vessel between two points in Canada in a manner that does not comply with certain parts of the TDGR. The authorization includes both an exemption from certain parts of the TDGR and specific conditions that set out the requirements that apply in their place.

The scope of the exemption depends on the capacity of the means of containment used, and differs for means of containment that are less than or equal to 30 litres, or less than or equal to 450 litres.

The "means of containment" is the container or packaging, or any part of a means of transport that is or can be used to contain goods.

The specific conditions that apply differ depending on the volume of hand sanitizer being handled, offered for transport or transported (less than 5 litres, over 5 litres but less than 30 litres, or over 30 litres but less than 450 litres). Note that this is distinct from the capacity of the means of containment. The specific conditions set out the packaging, labelling and training requirements that apply for the duration that the Temporary Certificate is in force.


Failure to comply with the TDGA and TDGR carries steep penalties. Failure to comply with the TDGA or TDGR is an offence for which a person may be liable to imprisonment for up to two years, or to a fine up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for any subsequent offence.

In certain circumstances, directors and officers may be held liable for offences committed by an employee of the organization.

Further Requirements

The temporary certificate only relieves hand sanitizer producers from certain parts of the TDGR It does not relax any other requirements under the TDGA and TDGR, or under other applicable legislation (for example, under the federal Natural Health Products Regulations). Note: the Natural Health Products Regulations continue to apply. Under these regulations, alcohol based hand sanitizers must meet certain requirements, and site licences and product licences are required for the manufacture, packaging, labeling, importing, and distribution of products. Health Canada has implemented an expedited licensing approach to simplify and expedite the application process.

The Temporary Certificate will remain effective until the earlier of September 30, 2020, or the day it is cancelled by the Minister of Transport, at which point compliance with all ordinary obligations under the TDGA and TDGR will be required.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.