Guide for reporting dangerous goods incidents

Definitions related to reports

Before you start to complete the form, we suggest you become familiar with:

  • the terms most often used in the incident report involving dangerous goods, and
  • various important concepts to understand Part 8 - Reporting Requirements of the TDG Regulations

You can find the official definitions in Section 1.4 of the TDG Regulations or in the TDG Act, both of which have force of law. Undefined words have the same meaning as in the dictionary. Some definitions are provided here as guidance and they have no legal standing if not listed in the TDG Act or Regulations.

Index of the definitions for commonly used words:



The online tool “Termium Plus” defines an aerodrome as:

A defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure and surface movement of aircraft. Definition officially approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Air cargo facility

An air cargo facility is used to receive or transfer cargo that is transported or to be transported by aircraft.

Anticipated release

Anticipated release means that, for example:

  • an incident has occurred and dangerous goods will likely have to be transferred to another means of containment
  • a means of containment is damaged to the extent that its integrity is compromised and dangerous goods could be released
  • a means of containment does not comply with regulations, safety standards and safety requirements during the course of the handling or transporting of dangerous goods
  • a means of containment is exposed to a fire or unusual temperatures
  • a means of containment is lost in navigable waters

Such as:

  • package of lithium batteries with signs of overheating
  • leaking or shifted Intermediate bulk container (IBC) has to be offloaded into another IBC
  • rail tank car with a dent on the side and product needs to be transferred
  • gas cylinder with a damaged valve
  • container of infectious material with damaged outer packaging
  • highway Tank has been involved in an accident (rollover, impact, tire fire, wheel off, in the ditch or other damage to the truck or tank) and product needs to be transferred to another highway tank
  • waves breaking over the deck in a storm swept a container out to sea


CANUTEC means the Canadian Transport Emergency Center of the Department of Transport. It is operated by Transport Canada’s (TC) Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Directorate.

In the event of an emergency involving dangerous goods, call CANUTEC at 1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832), 613-996-6666 or *666 on a cellular phone. CANUTEC’s emergency response advisors provide immediate advice over the phone about the actions to take and to avoid during a dangerous goods emergency. They can also send technical information to local authorities responsible for responding to emergencies by email or fax during an incident.



In the transport of dangerous goods, a facility closure refers to the closure of any facility where dangerous goods are handled.

For example:

  • a line of Methanol was left open overnight and created a flammable environment
  • a facility closure due to a release or spill that results in a fire or explosion that endangers public safety
  • a closure of all loading/unloading on-site and/or complete evacuation of personnel in the loading area or entire facility due to posing immediate danger to health and safety
  • a closure of the facility due to an incident that has caused damage to the means of containment, loading/unloading equipment or the environment
  • the implementation of an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) for the goods involved or facility Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to protect public safety
  • a derailment occurs in the yard of a plant. The lines are closed for a few hours while responders transfer the cargo to another tank car and place the first car back on the rails. This example also applies to railway line below

Railway Line

In the transport of dangerous goods, a railway line is considered closed when movements are impossible for any period of time (whether for a few minutes, a few hours or a few days) due to a release or anticipated release of dangerous goods.

Main track: A track of a subdivision extending through and between stations governed by one or more methods of control upon which movements, track units and track work must be authorized. (Canadian Rail Operating Rules)

For example:

  • a train carrying dangerous goods derails on the main railway line, causing a release due to damage to the tank car. Trains cannot use the line until the site is cleaned up of dangerous goods
  • a tank car carrying dangerous goods is involved in a collision at a level crossing and needs to be transferred. Transportation routes are closed until the site is cleaned up of dangerous goods


In the transport of dangerous goods, a road closure is any change in the traffic patterns implemented by local authorities or emergency response personnel of a roadway including its closure, whether due to the release of dangerous goods or their transfer in the event of an anticipated release.

For example:

  • after a release occurs on a highway, one westbound lane is temporarily closed by police while the two eastbound lanes remain open to traffic
  • a tank truck is on its side in a ditch on a rural road and the dangerous goods are transferred to a second tank truck. Emergency response personnel create a buffer zone with pylons and traffic is allowed through one lane at a time
  • an incident or collision has occurred involving a transport truck or tanker unit carrying dangerous goods that has damaged the unit and left it inoperable and is blocking a complete or partial laneway or intersection that requires traffic to be detoured by police for safety reasons and/or to transfer the dangerous goods
  • a train derails, and a release occurs on the railway lines near a road. The road is closed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police to all traffic to protect the public, secure the perimeter and allow a cleanup


In the transport of dangerous goods, a waterway closure refers to the closure of a waterway where dangerous goods are transported.

Compliance mark

The TDG Act defines a compliance mark as:

A symbol, device, sign, label, placard, letter, word, number or abbreviation, or any combination of those things, that is to be displayed on a means of containment used or intended to be used in importing, offering for transport, handling or transporting dangerous goods to indicate compliance with a safety standard that applies under the regulations.

For example:

Cardboard box with the word Acetone UN 1090 in the upper left corner. Red square on point for Class 3, Flammable liquids in the upper right corner and an example of packaging code in the lower left corner: UN 4G/Y10/S/21 CAN/ ABC 2-99


Under the TDG Regulations, a consignor:

Means a person in Canada who:

  • is named in a shipping document as the consignor
  • imports or who will import dangerous goods into Canada
  • if paragraphs (a) and (b) do not apply, has possession of dangerous goods immediately before they are in transport

A person may be both a consignor and a carrier of the same consignment, for example, a manufacturer who also transports the dangerous goods he or she produces.

Dangerous goods

Under the TDG Act, dangerous goods:

Means a product, substance or organism included by its nature or by the regulations in any of the classes listed in the schedule to the Act.

Schedule to the Act

Class 1

Explosives, including explosives within the meaning of the "Explosives Act"

Class 2

Gases: compressed, deeply refrigerated, liquefied or dissolved under pressure

Class 3

Flammable and combustible liquids

Class 4

Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; substances that on contact with water emit flammable gases

Class 5

Oxidizing substances; organic peroxides

Class 6

Poisonous (toxic) and infectious substances

Class 7

Nuclear substances, within the meaning of the "Nuclear Safety and Control Act", that are radioactive

Class 8


Class 9

Miscellaneous products, substances or organisms considered by the Governor in Council to be dangerous to life, health, property or the environment when handled, offered for transport or transported and prescribed to be included in this class

In the TDG Regulations, the words "Class 7, Radioactive Materials" are used rather than the words that are used in the schedule to the Act, "Class 7, Nuclear Substances within the meaning of the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, that are radioactive" so that the Regulations are more easily read in conjunction with international documents incorporated by reference in them.

Dangerous goods mark

The TDG Act defines a dangerous goods mark as:

A symbol, device, sign, label, placard, letter, word, number or abbreviation, or any combination of those things, that is to be displayed to indicate the presence or nature of danger on dangerous goods, or on a means of containment or means of transport used in importing, offering for transport, handling or transporting dangerous goods.

For example: a placard showing the primary class and UN number for gasoline.

Red square on point representing Class 3 – flammable liquids with white letters: 1203


The TDG Regulations defines an ERAP as:

A plan that outlines what is to be done if there is an incident accident involving a release or anticipated release of certain dangerous goods and that is in accordance with Part 7, Emergency Response Assistance Plan.


In the transport of dangerous goods, a facility is a permanent or temporary building (or part of a building) used for the handling of dangerous goods.


Under the TDG Act, handling:

Means loading, unloading, packing or unpacking dangerous goods in or onto a means of containment for the purposes of, in the course of or following transportation and includes storing them in the course of transportation.

Means of containment (MOC)

The TDG Regulations defines a means of containment as:

Means a container or packaging, or any part of a means of transport that is or may be used to contain goods.

For more information on means of containment, please see Part 5 of the TDG Regulations (force of law) and visit the Containers section of TC's Transportation of Dangerous Goods Directorate Web site.

Means of transport

Under the TDG Act, a means of transport is:

A road or railway vehicle, aircraft, vessel, pipeline or any other contrivance that is or may be used to transport persons or goods.

However, as per Section 3 (4) (b) of the TDG Act, "commodities transported by a pipeline governed by the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act or the law of a province do not apply".

Public safety (endangers or could endanger public safety)

Means the safety of human life and health and of property and the environment. For the purposes of reporting, an incident that endangers or could endanger public safety is one that is beyond your resources and capabilities and requires the assistance of emergency response personnel. Emergency response personnel includes paramedics, firefighters, police, emergency response teams required under an ERAP and/or specialized spill/response/clean-up personnel.

For example:

  • a release or spill that results in a fire or explosion where a person is killed or seriously injured
  • a train derails, and a release causing a fire occurs on the railway lines near a town. An evacuation of nearby homes is required


Under the TDG Act, a release means:

In relation to dangerous goods,

  1. a discharge, emission, explosion, outgassing or other escape of dangerous goods, or any component or compound evolving from dangerous goods, from a means of containment being used to handle or transport the dangerous goods, or
  2. an emission, from a means of containment being used to handle or transport dangerous goods, of ionizing radiation that exceeds a level or limit established under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Any smoke or gases coming from lithium batteries constitutes a release.

For example:

  • a tank is punctured in an accident and gasoline drizzles out
  • a test tube containing infectious material falls to the ground and breaks during its transport
  • a pallet of damaged lithium batteries releases hydrogen and catches fire during unloading, loading or transport
  • gases endanger public safety while venting the container
  • transfer hose failure during loading and unloading procedures


A runway is the strip of ground on a landing field that aircrafts use for landing and takeoff.

Undeclared or misdeclared dangerous goods

Undeclared or misdeclared dangerous goods are those:

  • whose safety marks are incorrect on or missing from the means of containment, or
  • not identified according to the TDG Regulations for shipping documents

Note: For air transport, only dangerous goods that have been discovered after they were accepted by the air carrier must be reported. For example, a report is NOT required if dangerous goods have been detected at security and have been confiscated as they were not accepted by the carrier.

Examples of undeclared consignment:

  • hair spray or perfume in a "care package" after it’s been accepted by the carrier
  • a box of 16 cans of spray paint from one seller to another

Examples of misdeclared consignment:

  • shipment containing a battery charger and lithium batteries (declared as UN3481, LITHIUM ION BATTERIES PACKED WITH EQUIPMENT instead of UN3480, LITHIUM ION BATTERIES)
  • the information identifying the dangerous goods (either on the shipping document, or the safety marks on the means of containment) does not match the dangerous goods product

Unlawful interference

Unlawful interface is defined as a situation or incident where there is criminal intent or mischief to do harm to dangerous goods transportation activities that or could potentially impact public safety and/or national security. Here are some examples you could consider as an unlawful interference:

  • bomb or other terrorist threat including protests that compromise dangerous goods transportation or national security
  • cyber-attack on information technology (IT) system used to manage dangerous goods data and related supply chain information
  • a cylinder valve is purposely damaged or altered
  • a means of containment is purposely damaged, altered, or stolen
  • safety marks on a dangerous goods container was purposely altered
  • the composition of dangerous goods in a container is purposely altered to change the original chemical or physical properties of the product
  • shipping document information is purposely falsified