Halifax

Dangerous Goods

Friday, May 14, 2004

Summary

Introductory Remarks  and Presentation of the TDG Act and the Review Process

Mr. Raymond Auclair, Director of Research Evaluation and Systems, Transport Dangerous Goods, opened the meeting with a presentation on the TDG Act and the purpose and procedures of the review.

Here is a copy of the slide presentation on the Review and the Act used by Mr. Auclair.

Items Discussed

Following the presentation period, there was time reserved for questions and answers.  We received questions and comments about the TDG Act, the TDG Regulations, the program and the review process itself.  We have tried to summarize the topics in this list.  Some portions of the “answers” were added after the fact for the purpose of encouraging future discussions.

B-2 Estoppels.  Does the current Act allow the regulator to issue estoppels? What will the new Act do?

Estoppels are a general principle of law.  The TDG Act is silent about estoppels as are most acts and regulations in Canada. What the Act does not allow is the use of estoppels as a way to grant operating permits.  The issue being raised in B-2 is to allow a discussion on whether the TDG Act needs to recognize situations where estoppels are presently being used.

D-3 Wording of the Act.  Would the name of the Act need to be changed if security issues are added?

No.  However, somewhere in the Act there would have to be at the very least a sentence to confirm the authority to make regulations for security purposes.  (In the presentation, we state that the official name of the TDG Act:  An Act to Promote Public Safety in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods, defines the objective of the Act.)

E-2 Impact on trade and competitiveness.  What can be done to help Canadian shippers deal with the added financial and administrative burden of filing Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAP)?

So far, industry is not raising the issue of filing ERAP (required by section 7 of the TDG Act).  In general, many sectors of the industry use the ERAP system as a part of their own cooperative prevention and response organizations (e.g., TRANSCAER).  What is being discussed (issue B-4) is the cost of the added value provided by industry to the ERAP program, such as one company providing response to an accident even though the dangerous goods are the responsibility of another company.  This extra work is not required by law, it is very valuable to Canadian society and is an added cost to Canadian industry when compared with US counterparts.

E-2 Impact on trade and competitiveness.  An issue was raised on the need for more prevention and public information activities.  Although TDG inspectors usually provide the advocacy and prevention service, more of such activities would ensure better compliance and less fines imposed to shippers.

The TDG Act is silent on these matters.  Should it remain silent?  In general, laws are silent about these things.  It is the “programs” that determine the approach.

F-4 Ticketing. An issue was raised on the maximum number of tickets that can be given to one operator for a recurring offence.

The interpretation of what constitute a continuing offence (section 36) belongs to the courts.  If it was decided to prosecute someone for a continuing offence because the operator failed to correct a situation, the prosecution would have to demonstrate to the court that the accused knew that there was in infraction, did have an opportunity to fix the problem, and failed to fix it.   The TDG Act does not set a maximum number of tickets that can be given for a recurring offence.

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