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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:
In some cases, you may need to include more information, such as:
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:
For air or international marine shipments, you must place the UN number before the shipping name. You will find this requirement in the:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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