Regulatory Affairs
December 21, 2017

Guide for Cross-border Emergency Response

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Over the last several years, the public has become increasingly interested in incidents involving dangerous goods. This heightened awareness of the potential impact of chemical incidents has led to a growing demand for higher safety standards from both government and industry.

The public demand for higher response standards, the liberalized movement of goods across borders and the growing tendency of multi-national companies to operate in a North American context has led to the more frequent use of foreign-based emergency response teams. These teams may offer more rapid, efficient and effective emergency responses under specific circumstances.

Organizations who operate under cross-border plans must, however, perform more extensive pre-incident planning than the planning required for domestic-based emergency response teams.

It is the responsibility of the individual responders to prepare in advance of an emergency situation. Because local authorities may not be fully aware of what applies and what does not apply during emergency incidents, responders are urged to engage in an active dialogue with appropriate authorities in advance of a required emergency response to minimize confusion and misunderstanding.

A Guide for Cross-Border Emergency Response has been developed by Transport Canada to provide general guidance to those who may be considering developing or using cross-border emergency response services. It is intended primarily for the use of both public and private emergency response planners as an aid to pre-incident planning, not as a working tool for hands-on responders.

The guide applies to emergencies involving the movement of all products by all modes of transport — air, road, rail and marine — from the U.S. into Canada and from Canada into the U.S. The guide also applies to trans-shipments or “bridge traffic” that includes movements of products through another country while in transit from the country of origin to a destination in the same country (e.g., passing through Canada when transporting products by road from Montana to Alaska). Some limited information is also provided regarding response into Mexico.


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