Transporting Batteries

RDIMS #5872093
Updated December 2010

This bulletin is divided into 9 items and addresses batteries that are regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations.

1 - General Information on the TDG Act and Regulations
2 - Classification of Batteries
3 - General Requirements for Shipping
4 - Special Cases, Special Provisions or Equivalency Certificates1
5 - Shipping as Waste
6 - Shipping by Vessel
7 - Shipping by Aircraft
8 - Cross-Border Shipments from the United States
9 - Upcoming Changes

1 - General Information on the TDG Act and Regulations

While many types exist, not all batteries are subject to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Act and Regulations. For example, common household-type alkaline, nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and silver-zinc batteries are not classified as dangerous goods. Even some small lithium batteries, depending on the amount of lithium they contain, may also be exempt from the TDG Regulations. When batteries are shipped by air, more requirements or even some restrictions apply. For example, even household type batteries must have the terminals protected from short-circuit for air shipment.

Household type batteries image

Household type batteries as dangerous goods.

2 - Classification of Batteries

Some batteries are regulated as dangerous goods because they may pose hazards during transport. These hazards include:

  • short-circuits, which can lead to fires; and/or
  • leaks of corrosive liquid or other material that can injure people or damage property.

Most batteries are classified as class 8 - Corrosives. However, some may be classified as class 9 - Miscellaneous Products, Substances or Organisms or class 4.3 - Water Reactive Substances. The manufacturer (i.e. consignor) is responsible for classifying the battery. Although Transport Canada can provide help in the classification process, we will not classify a battery for you.

The table below provides a list of UN numbers for batteries. You can also find them in Schedule 1 of the TDG Regulations at:

UN # Shipping Name and Description Class Packing Group
UN2794 Batteries, Wet, Filled With Acid 8 III
UN2795 Batteries, Wet, Filled With Alkali 8 III
UN2800 Batteries, Wet, Non-Spillable 8 III
UN3028 Batteries, Dry, Containing Potassium Hydroxide Solid 8 III
UN3090 Lithium Batteries 9 II
UN3091 Lithium Batteries Contained In Equipment; or
Lithium Batteries Packed With Equipment
9 II
UN3292 Batteries, Containing Sodium; or
Cells, Containing Sodium
4.3 II

Please note there are some UN numbers, such as UN3480 and UN3481, that are not listed in the TDG Regulations, but are listed in the:

  • 49 CFR, UN Recommendations, (United Nations)
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions; and
  • International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code.

Also, the shipping names for UN3090 and UN3091 are different in the latest versions of the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code. These newer UN numbers can be used in Canada.

3 - General Requirements for Shipping

Documentation, Safety Marks, Means of Containment and Training Requirements

Unless exempt from the TDG Regulations through a special case, special provision or an equivalency certificate (i.e. formerly known as permit), battery shipments must fully comply with the TDG Regulations. When shipping batteries by vessel or aircraft, you may also need to refer to the ICAO Technical Instructions or the IMDG Code. For more information, please refer to Part 11 and 12 of the TDG Regulations.

Documentation - TDG Regulations, Part 3

The TDG Regulations require dangerous goods to have a shipping document that includes the information listed under section 3.5. The information includes, but is not limited to:

  • name and address of the consignor;
  • date;
  • 24 hr telephone number;
  • a description of the batteries, including:
    • the UN number;
    • the shipping name;
    • primary and subsidiary class;
    • packing group;
  • total weight of batteries, in kilograms.

There is no requirement to use a specific form. However, when shipping by aircraft, the shipping document must have, on the left and right margins, red hatchings that are oriented to the left or to the right. (See image below)

Shipping document sample

To learn more about shipping documents please consult:

  • Part 3 of the TDG Regulations;
  • Advisory Notice >Shipping Documents - TP9554 Vol.2; and
  • Part 12, section 12.2 of the TDG Regulations.

Dangerous Goods Safety Marks TDG Regulations, Part 4

TDG Regulations require that dangerous goods safety marks be displayed on the means of containment (e.g. box) to indicate the presence and nature of the danger. Please note that the TDG Regulations do not require safety marks on the battery.  The reason, the battery is the actual dangerous goods and not the means of containment.

Also, when shipping by aircraft, the ICAO Technical Instructions require an extra label such as a "Lithium battery handling label". (See image below)

Additonal Label

To learn more about dangerous goods safety marks please consult:

Means of Containment - TDG Regulations, Part 5

When class 4, 8 or 9 batteries are placed in a small means of containment, section 5.12 of the TDG Regulations refers to the Canadian General Standards Board standard CGSB-43.150. This standard (unlike the UN Recommendations, the IMDG Code and 49 CFR) requires you to package the batteries in a UN standardized means of containment (e.g. UN box). In most cases, you must package the batteries in a manner that prevents damage to the battery and protects the terminals from short-circuit.

Packaging requirements

According to CGSB-43.150, you must:

  • transport batteries in a UN Standardized means of containment; and
  • apply dangerous goods safety marks to the means of containment, as per Part 4 of TDG Regulations.

When batteries are not individually packaged in a UN box but are instead consolidated on a pallet, or a large battery is placed on a pallet, Part 5 of the TDG Regulations refers to standard CGSB-43.146 and the Canadian Standards Association standard CSA B621. Since containers manufactured to these two standards may be impractical for packaging and transporting batteries, shippers often use alternative non-specification methods. To do this, you must apply to Transport Canada for an equivalency certificate (i.e. formerly known as a permit). To learn more about equivalency certificates, read item 4 of this Bulletin.

To learn more about means of containment please consult:

Training - TDG Regulations, Part 6

The TDG Regulations require that anyone who handles, offers for transport, transports or imports dangerous goods must be adequately trained. For more information on training please consult:

4 - Special Cases, Special Provisions or Equivalency Certificates

Special Cases

Special cases provide either full or partial relief from the TDG Regulations.  They are found in Part 1, under sections 1.15 to 1.48. of the TDG Regulations.

Sections 1.15 (150 kg gross mass exemption) and 1.16 (500 kg gross mass exemption) may apply to transporting batteries.  Both sections limit the total gross mass to either 150 kg or 500 kg and they must be transported in one or more means of containment having a gross mass less than or equal to 30 kg. This means that these exemptions apply only when shipping batteries in means of containment (i.e. boxes) having a gross mass of less than 30 kg.  These exemptions would generally not apply when shipping batteries on a pallet, as the pallet is considered a means of containment and the total mass would likely exceed 30 kg.

To learn more about special cases, please consult the TDG Regulations, Part 1, sections 1.15 to 1.48.

Special Provisions

Special provisions 34 and 39 apply specifically to batteries and may provide relief from the TDG Regulations. These special provisions list requirements for classifying certain batteries:

  • Special provision 34 applies to UN3090 and UN3091.
  • Special provision 39 applies to UN2800.

To learn more, please consult special provisions 34 and 39 in Schedule 2 of the TDG Regulations.

Equivalency Certificate (Permits)

To transport batteries in non-standardized means of containment, you must apply to Transport Canada for an equivalency certificate. Although a pallet is not a standardized means of containment, we have issued equivalency certificates to transport batteries on a pallet using shrink-wrap. You may view a copy of an equivalency certificate addressing batteries on a pallet at: (

Proper Method of Packing Batteries on a Pallet
Improper Placement of Batteries on Pallet

With an equivalency certificate you may shrink-wrap batteries on a pallet but the terminals must be protected from short circuit. This is usually done using cardboard insulator pads between layers of batteries.

To learn how to apply for an equivalency certificate please visit the "Equivalency Certificates" section of our website at:  You may also consult Part 14 of the TDG Regulations.

5 - Shipping as Waste

Domestic Transport

Provided the batteries are not damaged or leaking, waste batteries are treated the same as new batteries. This means you still require a shipping document, labels, placards, etc. Also, waste batteries should be capable of passing the same tests as new batteries. These tests include: vibration, shock, external short circuit, impact, etc. Waste batteries should be in good physical condition and free from any damage.

When batteries are damaged, you may need to re-classify them.  Also, it's possible that a damaged battery is no longer a dangerous goods.  For example, a lead acid battery (UN2794) may no longer be regulated if all the acid has leaked out due to a crack in the case.  However, the acid, which was originally inside the battery, would still be regulated.

International Transport

Environment Canada’s Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations regulate exporting and importing waste batteries. You must obtain permits from Environment Canada to export or import waste batteries and other materials.

The Basel Convention is an agreement among countries to control and track the movement of hazardous wastes. Since many countries do not permit the entry of waste batteries, make sure to ship batteries only to countries that will accept them.

To learn more about the Basel Convention and Export and Import of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations, please visit Environment Canada's website at:

Note for Domestic and International air transport:

As of January 1, 2011 the ICAO Technical Instructions will no longer allow waste batteries or batteries being shipped for recycling or disposal to be transported by aircraft; unless approved by the appropriate national authority of the State of Origin and the State of the Operator.  For example, a shipment of batteries on board an aircraft, which originates in Germany and is destined for Canada, would need the approval of both the German and Canadian government.

6 - Shipping by Vessel

Domestic Transport

When transporting batteries domestically by vessel, Part 11 of the TDG Regulations requires you to comply with the TDG Regulations only.  In this case, you must not use the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code).

Please consult Part 11 of the TDG Regulations.

International Transport

When transporting batteries internationally by vessel or by vessel on a "home-trade voyage, class 1", Part 11 of the TDG Regulations requires you to comply with the IMDG Code and some additional requirements in the TDG Regulations.

Note: An example of a "home-trade voyage, class 1" is when a vessel that departs the port of Halifax and travels through the Panama Canal to its destination in Vancouver.

7 - Shipping by Aircraft

Domestic Transport

When an aircraft transports batteries domestically, Part 12 of the TDG Regulations gives you two options.  You may:

  • Comply with ICAO Technical Instructions and some additional requirements of the TDG Regulations; or
  • Use the alternative requirements listed under sections 12.4 to 12.17 when the ICAO Technical Instructions limits or restricts the quantity or type of dangerous goods that can be transported.

To learn more please consult Part 12 of the TDG Regulations.

International Transport

When an aircraft transports batteries internationally, Part 12 of the TDG Regulations requires you to comply with the ICAO Technical Instructions and some additional requirements of the TDG Regulations.

8 - Cross-Border Shipments from the United States

When the shipment enters Canada from the United States by road or rail, sections 9.1 and 10.1 of the TDG Regulations allow you to comply with the requirements of the 49 CFR (US Regulations) instead of Canadian TDG Regulations. This reciprocity also applies to shipments that transit through Canada from the United States. Example: A shipment departs the state of Washington and arrives at its destination in Alaska but travels through British Columbia and the Yukon.

According to subsection 9.1(2), this reciprocity does not apply to shipments travelling under exemptions issued in the US. This means that batteries being shipped under an exemption in the United States would need to fully comply with the Canadian TDG Regulations when entering Canada.

9 - Upcoming Changes

Transport Canada has developed and published a new standard that will redefine the requirements that apply to small means of containment. This new standard clarifies the means of containment requirements for shipping batteries by road, rail or ship on a domestic voyage. Transport Canada TP14850E is titled: "Small Containers for Transport of Dangerous Goods, Classes 3, 4, 5, 6.1, 8 and 9 ", may be viewed at:

Although this standard is published, it has not yet been adopted as a requirement of the TDG Regulations. In the future, this new standard will be adopted in the TDG Regulations and replace the current standard called CAN/CGSB-43.150-97. If you wish to use this new standard, you must apply to the TDG Directorate for an equivalency certificate.

Compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations

Failure to comply with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations can lead to fines and/or imprisonment. If you have any questions regarding the TDG Regulations, you may contact a Transport Canada dangerous goods inspector in your region. They can assist you with any questions you may have. Below are the numbers for the 5 regional offices or visit the TDG website at:

Atlantic Region


Quebec Region

(514) 283-5722

Ontario Region

(416) 973-1868

Prairie &Northern Region

(204) 983-3152

Pacific Region

(604) 666-2955


1 The TDG Act was modified in June 2009. The term "permit for equivalent level of safety" was changed to "equivalency certificate". Please note that Part 14 of the TDG Regulations does not yet reflect this change.