Harbor with ship full of cargo

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDG) is essential to the transportation industry. Through airports, trains, highways and harbours, dangerous goods are transported across the country to maintain the quality of life for Canadians. However, when dangerous goods are transported, safety requirements must be obeyed. 

To prevent unfortunate accidents, ensure public safety and protect those handling and transporting dangerous goods, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act 1992 was established. From defining dangerous goods to setting penalties and reasonable emergency measures, the TDG Act provides a complete guide on handling and transporting dangerous goods.

This post will examine the possible penalties for TDG violations if your business receives or ships dangerous goods.

Transport Canada Oversight & Safety Standards

According to the Act, every person engaged in handling and transportation must be trained in the aspects applicable to their assigned duties. Without adequate training, workers may be unable to select the proper packaging for a consignment or properly label and document it. Adequate training is essential to ensure that dangerous goods are safely shipped and handled.

To promote public safety, federal inspectors have the authority to inspect any consignment they believe is involved in the movement of dangerous goods and ensure that any person whose duties include handling dangerous materials has received appropriate TDG training.


The penalties for not complying with TDG guidelines, such as a lack of TDG certification, negligent practices, or making a false or misleading statement to an inspector, are substantial.  

Penalty provisions provide for: 

  • A fine of up to $50,000 for a first offence,
  • Fines of up to $100,000 for subsequent offences,
  • Up to 2 years of imprisonment for indictable offences

The TDG Act includes provisions for penalties that a court may impose in addition to the other penalties stated in the TDG Act. These penalty provisions can include prohibiting a person from engaging in an activity regulated by the TDG Act, requiring a person to compensate others, repair damage to the environment or contribute to research regarding the transportation of dangerous goods. 

The penalties that a court may impose under the TDG Act are designed to ensure that those who engage in activities regulated by the TDG Act do so in a safe and responsible manner. In determining the penalties to be imposed, the court will consider the nature and gravity of the offense and the circumstances surrounding the offense. 

Federal Regulations

Anyone who handles or transports dangerous goods must complete a TDG training online or in-person, with a valid employer-issued Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Certification. Failure to comply with dangerous goods regulations can lead to serious penalties. 

fuel truck and driver

Defining Dangerous Goods

The TDG Act defines dangerous goods as “products that are inherently dangerous whether or not they are in transport” that fall into any one of the following nine classes:

  • Explosives
  • Gases
  • Flammable and combustible liquids 
  • Flammable solids 
  • Oxidizing substances
  • Poisonous and infectious substances
  • Radioactive materials 
  • Corrosives
  • Miscellaneous products, substances or organisms considered dangerous to life, health, property or the environment. 

Handling Dangerous Goods 

Regarding transporting dangerous goods, the TDG Act has outlined regulations that ensure everyone responsible for the handling, loading and transporting of dangerous goods is safe and trained to do so. 

The term "handling" is defined as the "loading, unloading, packing or unpacking of dangerous goods in a means of containment or transport for the purposes of, in the course of or following transportation and includes storing them in the course of transportation". This definition encompasses a wide range of activities and makes it clear that the handling of dangerous goods is not limited to the actual process of loading and unloading them.

Dangerous Goods Safety Marks & Packaging

Packaging is a critical aspect of transporting dangerous goods, as it helps to ensure that no harm comes to people or property. Without a specific requirement, the general guidelines stipulate that dangerous goods must be packaged to prevent emissions or discharges that could threaten life, health, property or the environment. Respecting safety marks is fundamental to limiting the hazards of transporting dangerous goods. 

Accordingly, TDG regulations include a provision that dangerous goods must have safety marks and documents to convey the nature of any potential dangers to first responders and handlers. Relatively small contaminants (450L or less) must be clearly labelled, while large shipments in bulk containers must be placarded. 

Affordable TDG Certification from Canada Safety Training

Canada Safety Training provides online courses that help businesses meet the standards set by the Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Act. The courses cover various topics, including safe handling and storing of dangerous goods, incident response, and emergency preparedness. Canada Safety Training's courses are designed to help businesses create a safer working environment for their employees and to protect the public from the risks associated with dangerous goods. The courses are accessible 24/7 and can be completed at the employee's pace. 

Canada Safety Training is the leading provider of safety courses in the country. We offer various courses, from TDG training to WHMIS training, Lockout/Tagout training and more. No matter your industry, we have a course that will fit your needs. 

Whether you're looking for online safety training or specific courses for your industry, Canada Safety Training is the only resource you need. Contact us today to learn more about our courses and how we can help you keep your staff safe.