CANUTEC is the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre operated by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Directorate of Transport Canada. The Directorate’s overall mandate is to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods by all modes. CANUTEC was established in 1979 and is one of the major safety programs Transport Canada delivers to promote the safe movement of people and goods throughout Canada.
CANUTEC is a national advisory service that assists emergency response personnel in handling dangerous goods emergencies on a 24/7 basis. The emergency centre is staffed by bilingual scientists specializing in chemistry or a related field and trained in emergency response. The emergency response advisors are experienced in interpreting technical information from various scientific sources including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) in order to provide pertinent and timely advice.
The centre also offers a free 24-hour emergency telephone service for Canadian consignors who wish to use CANUTEC’s 24-hour number (1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832) or 613-996-6666) on their dangerous goods shipping documents. A consignor must first register with CANUTEC and submit pertinent contacts and Material Safety Data Sheets before receiving authorization to use CANUTEC’s number.
CANUTEC deals with approximately 1,000 emergency situations yearly and handles over 25,000 telephone calls per year.
Using the computerized information network accessible to them as well as their professional experience, judgement and knowledge, CANUTEC’s advisors can provide immediate advice over the phone and recommend actions to be taken, and those to avoid, in dangerous goods emergencies. All the technical documents can be sent by e-mail or fax to the site of an incident. Please note that CANUTEC advisors do not go to the scene of an incident. Here are the types of information or services that can be obtained by calling CANUTEC:
Emergency Response Services
- chemical, physical and toxicological properties of dangerous goods;
- possible product incompatibilities and stabilities;
- health hazards and first aid measures;
- fire, explosion, spill or leak mitigation techniques;
- remedial actions for the protection of life, property and the environment;
- isolation and evacuation distances;
- donning of personal protective clothing and equipment and their decontamination procedures;
- coordination of communications with consignor, government or medical specialists;
- quick access to a vast national and international resource network which includes the industrial sector, emergency response teams, private response contractors, mutual aid groups, federal and provincial response specialists and other emergency centres; and
- over 2 million Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
- free registration of Canadian consignors for the use of CANUTEC’s emergency phone number on shipping documents.
- transportation of dangerous goods regulatory information;
- participation with fire departments, public authorities and industry during their training exercises;
- awareness of the Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs).
Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)
CANUTEC has been extensively involved in the production of the Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG), which is the result of an International collaborative effort between Canada, the United States, Mexico and Argentina. Initiated under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), this project improves communication during hazardous incidents between the four countries by harmonizing emergency response recommendations for transportation incidents. A new guidebook is published every 4 years to reflect any changes in emergency response procedures and to update material names and ID Numbers (UN numbers).
There is a new policy in effect for the free distribution of the guidebook (ERG). Please consult the handout on ERG distribution policy to know which organizations are eligible to receive free copies of the ERG.
The ERG is also available free of charge in various electronic formats on CANUTEC’s website. The guidebook can also be purchased from various companies (see CANUTEC’s website).
Federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations require that CANUTEC be contacted in the event of a dangerous goods incident involving the road, rail, marine transportation modes when the incident results in:
- The death of a person;
- A person sustaining injuries that required immediate medical treatment;
- An evacuation of people or their shelter in place;
- The closure of a facility used in loading or unloading of dangerous goods;
- The closure of a road, a main railway or a main waterway;
- The means of containment has been damaged to the extent that its integrity is compromised, or;
- The center sill or stub of a tank car is broken or there is a crack in the metal equal to or greater than 15 cm.
Aviation incident must be reported to CANUTEC if it results in:
- The death or injury of a person;
- Damage to property or to the environment;
- Signs that the integrity of a means of containment has been compromised;
- Serious jeopardy to persons on an aircraft or to the aircraft itself;
- An evacuation of people or their shelter in place, or;
- The closure of an aerodrome, air cargo facility or runway.
For further information, please contact CANUTEC at:
330 Sparks Street
Place de Ville, Tower C
14th floor, Suite 1415
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N5
General/Regulatory inquiries: 613-992-4624
Emergency: 1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832) or
613-996-6666 (collect calls are accepted) or
*666 by cellular phone (in Canada Only)