Emergency Response Guidebook distribution policy

The Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) is a reference guide to help First Responders quickly identify hazards of the material or materials involved in a dangerous good incident.It has information that will help First Responders protect themselves and the general public during the initial response phase of the incident. It is designed mainly for use at a road or rail dangerous goods incident.

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Purpose of this policy

The purpose of this policy is to increase public safety by clearly explaining who can get free paper copies of the guidebook and how to get them. This will make the distribution process better, reduce duplication of efforts by starting a central record system and encourage more people to use free digital copies.

Roles and responsibilities


  • Organizing and managing the distribution of free paper copies within Canada
  • Keeping a central, detailed record system of the distribution of paper copies
  • Providing free digital copies in various formats

Provincial/territorial and Transport Canada regional contacts

  • Keeping paper copies from CANUTEC and storing them until they are sent out
  • Sending the paper copies free of charge to people and organizations who are eligible to receive them in their area
  • Keeping detailed records of the paper copies they send out and sharing records with CANUTEC
  • Explaining to CANUTEC any request for additional free paper copies
  • Redirecting other requests to commercial distributors or CANUTEC
  • Raising awareness about this policy

Who is eligible to get free paper copies?

  • Canadian First Responders from public emergency services such as:
    • municipal fire departments
    • police departments
    • ambulance services
    • RCMP
    • First Nation emergency services, can get free paper copies according to operational needs

      These First Responders can get free paper copies according to operational needs, which include:

      • one paper copy of the Guidebook per emergency vehicle or per emergency kit bag (such as for volunteer firefighters who use their personal vehicle)
      • replacement copies as required for broken or damaged copies
      • copies used in class for in-house training purposes, on the condition they are to be retained for reuse in future classes
  • Canadian dispatch centers that pass on technical information about dangerous goods to First Responders can get a small number of free paper copies for use in the dispatch center
  • In remote areas where there are no First Responders available, other Canadian municipal, provincial, territorial or federal authorities acting as public emergency services may get free paper copies according to emergency response operational needs, if they are likely to be the first to arrive on scene of a dangerous goods incident
  • Transportation of dangerous goods inspectors, remedial measures specialists and provincial inspectors who respond to dangerous goods accidents can get one free copy each for use during their duties

Who is not eligible to get free paper copies?

  • Industry representatives, including:
    • private companies
    • industry emergency services
    • non-profit organizations
    • mutual aid groups
    • dangerous goods cleanup contractors
  • Non-emergency services within municipal, provincial, territorial or federal authorities, including non-emergency divisions within public emergency services (such as municipal emergency preparedness planning divisions)
  • Dispatch centers that do not relay technical information about dangerous goods to First Responders (such as most 911 dispatch centers)
  • Anyone making a request from outside of Canada

Parties not eligible for free copies are encouraged to use free digital copies, or they can buy paper copies from a commercial distributor.

How to get a copy of the Guidebook?

Those eligible for free paper copies must contact their provincial/territorial contact.

Transportation of dangerous goods inspectors and remedial measures specialists must contact their Transport Canada Regional Office coordinator.

Schools and training services may get a limited number of copies based on availability and with the approval of the Director of CANUTEC. The copies must be kept and reused from class to class, and not handed out to students to keep for personal use.

Emergency response teams within other Canadian governmental departments and agencies may also get a limited number of copies based on operational needs. Please contact CANUTEC for requests.

Who can get a free digital copy?

Everyone can get a free digital copy. Formats available include PDF, online, downloadable software for PC, and apps for Apple and Android.

Contact us

Telephone: 613-992-4624

Email: canutec@tc.gc.ca