Information contained in this section is of a general nature only and is not intended to constitute advice for any specific fact situation. For particular questions, users are invited to contact their lawyer and/or the appropriate authority.
The WHMIS and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) programs, although complementary and compatible, satisfy different purposes and have significant and essential differences.
The TDG program controls the shipment of dangerous goods and provides the information needed by emergency response personnel to deal with transportation accidents and spills. A system of diamond-shaped placards and labels is used to identify dangerous goods. Different colours and symbols depict the dangers peculiar to each regulated product.
Workplace exposure to hazardous products can generally occur in a wider variety of circumstances and over much longer periods of time compared to the transportation cycle. The objective of WHMIS is to ensure the protection of Canadian workers from the adverse effects of hazardous materials through the provision of relevant information.
The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and Regulations apply to the handling, offering for transport and transportation of dangerous goods. "Handling and offering for transport" includes activities such as assembling, packaging, storing, loading and unloading. "Transportation" generally means transportation to and from a workplace. "Storing" for transport is storage in which goods will not be further handled at the workplace other than to load goods directly onto a transport vehicle for the purposes of removal from the workplace.
Transport Canada is the focal point for the national program to promote public safety during the transportation of dangerous goods. The department's Transport Dangerous Goods Directorate serves as the major source of regulatory development, information and guidance on dangerous goods transport for the public, industry and government employees.
The transportation of dangerous goods by air, marine, rail and road is regulated under the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, adopted by all provinces and territories, establishes the safety requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods. Federal and provincial legislation provide for the regulation of an extensive list of products, substances or organisms classified as dangerous.
Documents required for transportation (and exportation/importation) may vary according to the country of destination and the type of product being shipped. See the "Exportation / Importation" page of the national WHMIS Web site.
CANUTEC (Canadian Transport Emergency Centre) provides 24-hour-a-day bilingual emergency advisory and regulatory information service. CANUTEC's experienced professional chemists assist emergency responders in the event of a dangerous goods accident. The 1996 North American Emergency Response Guide was developed jointly by CANUTEC, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation of Mexico. The Guide is an initial reference source of information on the hazards of the chemicals and recommended responses to accidents involving dangerous goods. It is intended to be used to determine immediate and general on-site response to an accident involving specific dangerous goods.
As provided for by paragraph 14(d) of the WHMIS Controlled Products Regulations, if an outer container has a label in accordance with the TDG Regulations (i.e., a TDG label), the outer container will not require a WHMIS label; inner containers, however, must have WHMIS labels. If a product does not have any inner containers (e.g., a drum of solvent), then this exemption is not applicable, i.e., a WHMIS supplier label must be applied to the container. (Not all controlled products will require TDG labelling since the criteria for WHMIS controlled products are broader than the criteria for products subject to the TDG Regulations.)
As set out in section 15 of the CPR, the sale or importation of a bulk shipment of a WHMIS controlled product is exempt from the requirement to apply a WHMIS supplier label to the controlled product if:
Note: To facilitate the application of the appropriate label to the controlled product, should a supplier/importer of bulk shipments choose to provide supplier label information on the MSDS as opposed to providing a separate label (or by disclosing the label information on a separate sheet), the label information should be set apart and readily discernible from the other information disclosed on the MSDS.
Interprovincial and international oil and gas pipelines and additions to existing pipeline systems under federal jurisdiction require the approval of the National Energy Board (NEB) before they may be built. The NEB is an independent federal agency established in 1959 by the Parliament of Canada to regulate international and interprovincial aspects of the oil, gas and electric utility industries. The purpose of the NEB is to promote safety, environmental protection and economic efficiency in the Canadian public interest within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade.
The following scenario and response is extracted from TDG Newsletter, Vol. 26, No. 2, fall 2006.
Scenario: In a hospital in Canada, a doctor treats a patient who has been infected with Hepatitis B virus. The doctor draws a blood specimen from the patient and sends the sample to the hospital laboratory for packaging and subsequent shipment to a laboratory on the other side of the city for diagnostic testing. The doctor does not identify the blood specimen as being an "Infectious substance, affecting humans, Class 6.2, UN 2814, Risk Group II" because the doctor is of the opinion that the personal health information of the patient cannot be disclosed.
Question: Has the doctor acted in non-compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Regulations?
Response: Yes. In this scenario, the doctor knew that the patient was infected with Hepatitis B virus and was required to classify the blood specimen as "Infectious substance, affecting humans, Class 6.2, UN 2814, Risk Group II" in accordance with Part 2 of the TDG Regulations. As such, laboratory staff could have ensured that the sample was handled and offered for transport in accordance with the TDG Regulations. This would have included the completion of a dangerous goods shipping document, the selection of a proper means of containment and the display of dangerous goods safety marks on the means of containment. It is not necessary that a patient's name or any personal reference to the patient be indicated for any shipment of infectious substances.
Section 23 of the CPR sets out the conditions for the exemptions with regard to the importation of a controlled product that is to be labelled or repackaged in Canada in respect of the WHMIS requirements of the Hazardous Products Act to obtain or prepare a MSDS and to have a label applied to the controlled product. (See also the "Exportation / Importation" page of the national WHMIS Web site.)
Transporation Safety Board of Canada - The Board is an independent agency created to advance transportation safety through the investigation of occurrences in the marine, pipeline, rail and air modes of transportation.
Transportation by Pipeline - The National Energy Board (NEB) shares responsibility with the Transportation Safety Board for incident investigation. The NEB investigates pipeline incidents to determine whether its regulations have been followed and if those regulations may need to be changed. The Transportation Safety Board investigates the cause and contributing factors. The NEB also monitors excavation activity by third parties near pipelines to ensure compliance with existing regulations.