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Dangerous goods incidents in Canada, 2018

Released: 2020-01-20

There were 464 incidents involving dangerous goods—307 releases and 157 anticipated releases—that required a report to Transport Canada in 2018.

The information comes from the Dangerous Goods Accident Information System, which has been updated with 2018 data. The 13 tables show the annual number of dangerous goods incidents in Canada by province and territory as well as by mode of transportation, class of dangerous good, package type, initiating event and monthly distribution.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Dangerous goods reportable incidents by month and mode in Canada, 2018
Dangerous goods reportable incidents by month and mode in Canada, 2018

Most incidents occur on roads or in facilities

Over half (56.5%) of the incidents in 2018 occurred on roads, while incidents in facilities such as terminals and warehouses accounted for over one-third (36.6%).

Nearly half (48.5% or 225) of the total number of reportable dangerous goods incidents occurred in Alberta, and were likely related to oil and gas industry activities in the province. The second highest number of reportable incidents was in Ontario (67), followed by Saskatchewan (54), British Columbia (52) and Quebec (38).

Class of good and initiating events

Most (95.2%) incidents in 2018 involved five dangerous good classes: Class 3 flammable liquids (54.2%), Class 2 gases (18.6%), Class 8 corrosives (16.5%), Class 5 oxidizing substances and organic peroxides (3.2%) and Class 9 miscellaneous products, substances or organisms (2.7%).

The top three initiating events for dangerous goods incidents were as follows in 2018: loss of control (16.8%), defective fittings, valves, dome covers (12.1%) and improper handling (11.9%).

In 2018, 246 021 litres of petroleum product were released in 89 reportable incidents involving petroleum where a release occurred. Most (77.9%) of this volume was released through 79 incidents related to the commodity UN1267 - petroleum (sweet) crude oil.

  Note to readers

A release in relation to the transportation of dangerous goods includes: a discharge, emission, explosion, outgassing or other escape of dangerous goods, or any component or compound evolving from dangerous goods, from the means of containment being used to handle or transport the dangerous goods; or an emission, from a means of containment being used to handle or transport dangerous goods, of ionizing radiation that exceeds a level or limit established under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

An anticipated release in relation to the transportation of dangerous goods includes: an incident where dangerous goods will likely have to be transferred to another means of containment; a means of containment is damaged to the extent that its integrity is compromised and dangerous goods could be released; or where a means of containment is lost in navigable waters.

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 defines nine classes of such goods.

Under the Act's Regulations, Transport Canada is mandated to collect specific information on dangerous goods reportable incidents in Canada. If the incident meets the reporting requirements, then the employer of the person who had possession of the dangerous goods at the time of the incident, or the person if self-employed, has 30 days to file a report.

New regulations pertaining to reporting requirements for releases and anticipated releases came into effect on December 1, 2016, affecting the 2017 and 2018 data. As such, caution must be used when comparing with data from previous years. For more information on current reporting requirements for each class, visit Transport Canada's website.

Some data for previous years have been revised.

Totals may not add up due to rounding.

The Transportation Data and Information Hub, a website launched by Statistics Canada and Transport Canada, provides Canadians with online access to comprehensive statistics and measures on the country's transportation sector.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality, contact Transport Canada (TC.TDGIncidents-IncidentsTMD.TC@tc.gc.ca).

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