No Exceptions to the Rule? – Excepted Quantities in Canada’s TDGR

(with apologies to Bailey, Clark & Williams!)

Excepted Quantities in Canada

The December 31, 2014 Transport Canada amendment has added the concept of “Excepted Quantities” to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations (TDGR).

The concept of Excepted Quantities (EQ), taken from Section 3.5 of the UN Model regulations (“Orange Book”), has existed in other modal (ICAO-IATA, IMDG) regulations and has been introduced in other national regulations (e.g. 49CFR 173.4a).

This special case exemption (Part 1.17.1) is an extension to the “Limited Quantity” (LQ) concept in Part 1.17 of the TDGR. Essentially the EQ special case allows for an additional exemption option for quantities below the typical package limit for limited quantities. In a few cases where a substance does not have an allowed LQ quantity, there may be a possibility for a shipment to be exempted as an EQ. The provision is thus likely to be useful to a limited number of speciality consignors.

While LQ limits for chemicals commonly (depending on severity of hazard) allow quantities of 0.125-10 L or kg/ container or package (new Column 6a in Schedule 1), to a maximum total of 30 kg gross mass, to be shipped under the exemption, EQ restricts inner containers to either 1 or 30 mL or g – i.e. 0.001 to 0.030 L or kg.

Maximums per outer package are limited to 0.3-1 L or kg.

The EQ limit per inner package is determined by the “E” code in column 6 b) of Schedule 1. Then reference to Column 1 of the 1.17.1 Table provides the maximum (1 or 30) quantity per inner container; and Column 2 indicates the total maximum per outer package.* (Table for reference is located at the bottom of this article)

Unlike LQ, EQ packaging must always consist of a combination inner/outer arrangement.

As for LQ, EQ packages do not have to be standardized (“certified”) and, unlike IATADG, the shipper does not have to do testing of sample packages.

LB-USL350NPThe Excepted Quantities Label

The EQ package must be marked with the EQ label shown in 1.17.1, including the primary class(es) of inner containers and a phone number for information. The EQ package must have the EQ mark shown in 1.17.1, including the primary class(es) of inner containers and the name of the consignor or the consignee.* If EQ packages are placed in an overpack, the EQ label and an “overpack” mark must appear on the outside

*Thanks to Norman Loiseaux of Orion for noting my error

A TDGR Part 3 shipping document is not required, but if any document is used, the number of packages, with the words “dangerous goods in excepted quantities” must be entered.

No more than 1000 EQ packages can be on a vehicle or in an intermodal container.

Subpart 1.17.1(8) seems to add an additional, more extensive exemption for E1, 2, 4 & 5 code substances in a maximum of 1 mL or g inner, and no more than 100 mL or g net total per outer package.

[Although the intent may have been to further exempt the smallest (similar to “de minimis” provisions in the IATA-DGR), the wording as “excepted quantities” and the lack of exemption from Part 1, implies that the regular “EQ” provisions- i.e. label, document notation & load limits- could be considered to still apply.]

In summary, the inclusion of EQ in the TDGR is likely to be of limited (no pun intended- perhaps!) utility to the average consignor; but may be an option for very small samples of higher hazard dangerous goods.

*Part 1.17.1 Table

This Table and more information can be found on Transport Canada’s website.

Alphanumeric Code Column 1

Maximum net quantity per inner means of containment (in g for solids and mL for liquids and gases)

Column 2

Maximum net quantity per outer means of containment (in g for solids and mL for liquids and gases, or sum of g and mL in the case of mixed packing)


Not permitted as Excepted Quantity

















Clifton J. Brown

Clifton J. Brown

Clifton Brown has over 35 years of practical experience in the Canadian chemical and manufacturing industries. He has worked in research, quality, environment, health and safety in a range of industries including explosives, pesticides, manufacturing/contract packaging, pharmaceuticals, and specialty chemicals. This experience has provided a basis for dealing with a variety of regulatory approaches that have been useful in implementing and evaluating/auditing compliance. This experience has also been useful in effectively helping others to understand and apply the regulations in a North American context. Clifton represents ICC on the RDC regulatory and safe operations committees, participates in Transport Canada consultations and attends WSPS, CSSE and related activities.