Shipping Documents

This Bulletin explains shipping document requirements. It does not change, create, amend or allow deviations from the Transportation Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations. For specific details, consult Part 3 of the TDG Regulations.

What is a shipping document?

A “shipping document” is defined under section 1.4 of the TDG Regulations. Simply put, it is a paper document that contains required information about dangerous goods being handled, offered for transport or transported.

What is the purpose of a shipping document?

A shipping document identifies the dangerous goods being transported. In some cases, a shipping document may be required, even when placards are not.

When is a shipping document required?

A shipping document is always required, unless an exemption (i.e. special case) states otherwise. While you will find most exemptions to the TDG Regulations in Part 1 from sections 1.15 to 1.48, some are in Schedule 2.

Section 1.17 and special provision 37 in Schedule 2 are examples of when a shipping document is NOT required. To use any exemption, you must follow all the conditions listed, otherwise the TDG Regulations apply.

Who is responsible for making the shipping document?

The consignor (the shipper) must complete the shipping document before allowing a carrier to take the dangerous goods.

Who must keep records of the shipping document?

The consignor (the shipper), carrier and Canadian importer must all keep copies of shipping documents for at least two years.

Does Transport Canada provide shipping documents?

No. It is the consignor’s (the shipper’s) duty to create their own shipping document. You will find two sample shipping documents that can be used for most Canadian shipments of dangerous goods, at the end of this bulletin. You may use them to create your own.

Must a shipping document be on a specific form?

No. While you may use any form you want, it must list the necessary information.

When you ship by aircraft, however, the shipping document must have red hatchings on the left and right margins that slant to the left or to the right, as shown below. In addition, section 12.2 of the TDG Regulations says the shipping document must be completed in accordance with Chapter 4, Documentation, of Part 5, Shipper's Responsibilities, of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions.

What kind of information is listed on the shipping document?

As a minimum, the shipping document must contain:

  • Consignor’s (i.e. shipper) name and address
  • Date of shipment
  • Description of the goods:
    • Dangerous goods shipping name [e.g. Methanol]
    • Primary class and subsidiary class [e.g. 3(6.1) ]
    • The UN number [e.g. UN1230]
    • If applicable, the packing group in roman numerals [e.g. I, II or III]
  • The quantity in metric measurement [e.g. kg or L]
  • The “24-hour number” of a person who can provide technical information on the dangerous goods.

In some cases, you may need to include more information, such as:

  • The number of small means of containment (i.e. volume of 450 L or less) that require labels.
  • The Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) number and its activating telephone number.

    Note: An ERAP is only required for certain dangerous goods in certain quantities. To learn more about ERAP please consult Part 7 of the TDG Regulations.

  • The flash point, if the product is a class 3 flammable liquid and is being transported on a ship. (e.g. gasoline, diesel, etc.)
  • Special instructions, such as the control and emergency control temperatures of classes 4.1 and 5.2.
  • The number of any applicable Transport Canada Equivalency Certificates.

If I deliver a portion of the load, do I need to update the quantity on the shipping document?

Yes. If the quantity of dangerous goods or the number of small means of containment (i.e. volume of 450 L or less) changes during transport, the carrier must show the change on the shipping document or on a document attached to the shipping document.

When describing the dangerous goods on a shipping document, how must I display the UN number?

Subsections 3.5(1) and 3.5(7) of the TDG Regulations state that you may place the UN number of each dangerous goods either:

  • After the class (GASOLINE, Class 3, UN1203, PG II); or
  • Before the shipping name (UN1203, GASOLINE, Class 3, PG II).

For air or international marine shipments, you must place the UN number before the shipping name. You will find this requirement in the:

  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions or
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

Are electronic shipping documents permitted while in transit?

No. A paper copy of the shipping document must accompany the dangerous goods at all times. Although the consignor (i.e. shipper) may send electronic copies of the shipping document to the carrier, the carrier must print the shipping document before transport begins and keep a copy of the document in the vehicle while transporting the dangerous goods.

Are more documents ever required?

Yes. Here are two examples:

Shipments of class 7 - radioactive materials require more information on the shipping document. You will find the details in the “Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations”. Please contact the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for more details.

Rail shipments require an extra document called a “consist”. A consist numerically identifies the railcars, in a train, that contain dangerous goods. The consist will also identify the type of dangerous goods present in the railcar. You must keep the consist with the shipping document.

What are the rules for international shipments?

The TDG Regulations allow you to prepare shipping documents as set out in other Regulations for international shipments:

  • For international marine shipments, you may complete the shipping document as set out in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG) Code, and certain requirements from Part 11 (Marine) of the TDG Regulations.
  • For international and domestic air shipments, you must complete the shipping document as set out in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions; and
  • For international road or rail shipments from the United States, you may complete the shipping document as set out in the:
    • US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49. (49 CFR), and
    • Certain requirements from Part 9 (Road) and Part 10 (Rail) of the TDG Regulations.

Do you have a sample shipping document that I can look at?

Yes. You will find sample shipping documents on pages 7 and 8 of this bulletin.

Compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations

Failure to comply with the TDG Act and TDG Regulations can lead to fines and/or prison. You can visit the TDG website at: www.tc.gc.ca/tdg . If you have any questions about the TDG Regulations, contact a Transport Canada dangerous goods inspector in your region.

 
Atlantic Region
1-866-814-1477
 
Quebec Region
(514) 283-5722
 
Ontario Region
(416) 973-1868
 
Prairie & Northern Region
1-888-463-0521
 
Pacific Region
(604) 666-2955

You may use this sample shipping document for most Canadian shipments of dangerous goods. The yellow spaces are for required information. The other spaces are not required, but reflect current industry practice.

SHIPPING DOCUMENT Consignor (Shipper) Name: Address: Consignee (Destination) Name: Address: DATE: Point of Origin: Name of Carrier: Transport unit #: Shipping Document #: REGULATED DANGEROUS GOODS 24-HOUR NUMBER: (Only if applicable) ERAP reference #: ERAP telephone number: UN number Shipping name (If applicable, Technical Name) CLASS Primary Subsidiary class Packing Group Total Quantity (kg or L) Number of packages requiring labels THE DECLARATION BELOW IS REQUIRED BY THE 49 CFR (UNITED STATES REGULATIONS), FOR SHIPMENTS DESTINED FOR THE UNITED STATES. This is to certify that the above-named materials are properly classified, described, packaged, marked and labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation according to the applicable regulations of the Department of Transportation. _________________________ Shipper's signature NON REGULATED DANGEROUS Packages Description of articles Weight Received in apparent good order ____________________ Consignee’s signature Driver’s #: Driver’s signature _________________________

You may use this shipping document for most Canadian shipments of dangerous goods. It contains only the information required by the TDG Regulations. At the bottom we have added a declaration required by US Regulations (49 CFR), that is not required by the TDG Regulations. We highlighted it in gray to make it easy to find and use.

SHIPPING DOCUMENT Consignor Name: Address: DATE: REGULATED DANGEROUS GOODS 24-HOUR NUMBER: (Only if applicable) ERAP reference #: ERAP telephone number: UN number Shipping name (If applicable, Technical Name) CLASS Primary Subsidiary class Packing Group Total Quantity (kg or L) Number of packages requiring labels THIS DECLARATION IS ONLY REQUIRED BY THE 49 CFR (UNITED STATES REGULATIONS), FOR SHIPMENTS DESTINED FOR THE UNITED STATES. This is to certify that the above-named materials are properly classified, described, packaged, marked and labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation according to the applicable regulations of the Department of Transportation. _________________________ Shipper's signature