Regulatory sandbox on electronic shipping documents


As the transportation sector evolves, Transport Canada is looking at ways regulations can be updated to help keep Canada competitive and encourage innovation, while keeping Canadians safe.

This is why we launched a regulatory sandbox on electronic shipping documents. This project will allow us to test the use of electronic shipping documents for dangerous goods shipments in a safe way.

What is the sandbox project?

We will use the sandbox to evaluate whether electronic shipping documents can help us reach a level of safety that is equivalent or better than paper documents, and if so, under what conditions.

The project will look at using electronic shipping documents across four modes of transportation: air, marine, rail, and road. We will also look at both rural and urban environments, including areas with limited or no internet or cell coverage.

No specific technology or system will be imposed by this project as we are interested in evaluating a variety of platforms and technologies.

Note: We are not removing paper shipping documents. We are also not creating a central database of shipping documents. The goal of this project is simply to look at whether electronic shipping documents can provide the same or greater level of safety than paper documents.

This project does not change existing regulations. It is just a way for us to analyze the benefits, costs, and performance of electronic shipping documents, as well as how they could impact Canadians. All of these items need to be examined before any regulatory changes are proposed.

Once the project is complete, we will publish a final report that will include recommendations.

Why are we testing electronic shipping documents?

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations currently requires a physical paper shipping document to follow most dangerous goods while they are in transport. Shipping documents include information on the dangerous goods being transported and give first responders the information they need to respond to incidents when they occur. Unfortunately, paper documents can be lost or destroyed, which can cause delays in emergency response.

Electronic shipping documents present a number of potential benefits, as they can be:

  • easier to read
  • simpler to update
  • quicker to share with emergency responders
  • integrated with other digital business processes
  • more flexible and able to give Canadian businesses a competitive edge, and
  • aligned with international regulations

Who should participate?

The success of this project depends on the participation and contributions of key stakeholders. We are looking for the participation of shippers, carriers, first responders, enforcement personnel, and other government agencies.

Here's how to participate.