Friday, November 22, 2013

Canada Requires Community Notification of Hazmat Rail Traffic

On Wednesday the Canadian Director General of the Transport Dangerous Goods Directorate (TDGD) of Transport Canada issued a new Protective Direction (#32) requiring that railroads notify communities of the hazardous goods that are transported through those communities. A little noted provision of that PD is the requirement for hazardous goods shippers to provide similar information to each transited community and to provide contact info to Transport Canada for the individual who will be liaising with those communities.

Paragraph 2 of the direction specifically applies to “Any person who transports dangerous goods by railway vehicle”. It requires such persons to contact “the designated Emergency Planning Official of each municipality through which dangerous goods are transported by railway vehicle” and to provide that EPO with “yearly aggregate information on the nature and volume of dangerous goods the person transports by railway vehicle through the municipality”. Additionally it requires that EPO to be notified “as soon as practicable” if any “significant change” is made to that information.

Paragraph 4 requires shippers of dangerous goods to provide Transport Canada, through the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre (CANUTEC; the contact information for the person who will be liaising with the local EPO’s.

Paragraph 5 provides that copies of all of the required communications with local EPO’s will be shared with Transport Canada through CANUTEC.

As the crude oil derailment in Quebec last July demonstrated, there is a significant amount of hazardous material from the United States transported across Canadian railways. American shippers whose hazardous materials transits Canadian rail lines will be affected by this Protective Direction.

The provisions of this Protective Direction went into effect on Wednesday.

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