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What Does ERAP Stand For? Navigating Transport Canada’s ERAP Requirements

by | Jun 12, 2024

Are you responsible for managing dangerous goods transportation? Then you need to know what ERAP stands for and how it affects your operations. Here is a simple, general overview that explains how to get started with ERAPs.


Imagine this: A transport truck carrying hazardous chemicals overturns on a busy highway. Without a well-prepared emergency response, the situation could quickly escalate into a public safety nightmare. This example emphasizes the importance of preparing for transportation emergencies, especially when dealing with dangerous materials.

Understanding Transport Canada’s ERAP requirements is important when transporting dangerous goods. This guide will explain Transport Canada’s rules for ERAPs. Providing useful information for truck drivers, owner-operators, safety managers, and any professional working in the trucking industry.

What Does ERAP Stand For?

ERAP stands for Emergency Response Assistance Plan. Transport Canada requires a special plan to respond quickly and effectively to incidents with dangerous goods. This plan is necessary for handling dangerous goods transportation-related emergencies. It ensures a swift and efficient response to any incidents involving dangerous goods.


The primary objective of an ERAP is to ensure that there are pre-arranged, well-documented procedures in place for providing technical assistance, equipment, and resources to handle emergencies involving dangerous goods. This plan is crucial for reducing the impact of incidents on both people and the environment.


Overview of Transport Canada’s TDG Regulations


The government made the TDG Act to keep people safe when transporting dangerous materials. Enacted in 1985, the TDG Act has evolved to address emerging risks and incorporate advanced safety technologies.

Regulatory Body and Legislation

Transport Canada serves as the regulatory authority overseeing the implementation and enforcement of TDG regulations. The organization is responsible for ensuring that everyone, from drivers to company owners, follow their set of safety standards.

Several key legislative components govern TDG and ERAPs, including the TDG Act and various associated regulations. These laws ensure the safe transportation of dangerous goods to protect public health and the environment.


Key Components of an ERAP

Technical Assistance

An ERAP includes provisions for technical assistance, ensuring that qualified experts are available to guide emergency responders in managing hazardous material incidents. This expertise is essential for making informed decisions that mitigate the impact of an emergency.

Emergency Contact Information

Having up-to-date emergency contact details is a critical component of an ERAP. This ensures that all relevant parties can easily communicate during emergencies, enabling a quick and effective response.

Response Procedures

An ERAP outlines response procedures that detail the specific actions to take during an emergency. These procedures give step-by-step instructions for first responders in different situations to help them respond properly.

Resources and Equipment

Effective emergency response requires the availability of specialized resources and equipment. An ERAP contains resources, such as tools and materials for dealing with dangerous goods incidents. The plan ensures that the necessary resources are readily available in case of an emergency.


Trucking Employees Develop ERAP Application

Trucking employees developing an ERAP | Credit: Freepik

Who Needs an ERAP?


Not all transporters of hazardous materials require an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP). A company or person might need an ERAP depending on specific criteria, such as the amount and kind of dangerous materials they are moving.

According to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, Canadian individuals that import dangerous goods into Canada, or transport from within Canada, must have an ERAP if the quantities meet the rules specified in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDG Regulations).

To determine if you need an ERAP, you should identify:

  • The dangerous goods in your consignment
  • The quantity of each type of dangerous goods
  • The means of containment for each dangerous good
  • The mode of transportation you will be using

Then fill out this questionnaire to see which of your dangerous goods require an ERAP.

Certain categories of dangerous goods, such as explosives, toxic substances, and flammable liquids, typically require an ERAP. For example, a company that transports a lot of chlorine gas would need a plan for dealing with leaks or spills.


Developing an ERAP

To take the first step, you need to examine the dangerous goods being transported. This involves identifying potential risks and determining the necessary resources and expertise required to manage emergencies.


Consulting with hazardous materials and emergency response experts is essential, especially those that have successfully written and have active ERAPs. These professionals can provide valuable insights and guidance on creating a robust and effective ERAP tailored to specific needs and scenarios.

Hire Professional ERAP Writers

You can hire a delegated ERAP writer to assist with your ERAP approval application. A delegated writer is a third-party professional who can help draft your ERAP and PIA, complete specific sections of your ERAP application on your behalf, and/or prepare the necessary supporting documents.

Documentation Requirements

Comprehensive documentation is a cornerstone of an effective ERAP. This includes technical data on the hazardous materials, detailed response procedures, and up-to-date emergency contact information, ensuring all necessary information is readily available.

Response Procedures

Typical emergency response procedures should be clearly outlined in the ERAP. This includes step-by-step actions for various scenarios, ensuring that responders can act swiftly and effectively to manage any incident.

Step-By-Step Guide

Once you have confirmed the need for an ERAP and are prepared to develop your submission plan, follow this comprehensive guide provided by Transport Canada.


Submission and Approval Process

How to Apply

You can apply through Transport Canada’s website by logging into your account and manage your account through their online portal.

Alternatively, you can apply by calling them if you can not access the online portals:
Tel: 613-302-3581
TTY: 1-888-675-6863
But keep in mind using this process will result in longer processing times.

Review Process

Transport Canada reviews submitted ERAPs to ensure they meet regulatory standards and adequately address potential risks. This review process involves a thorough evaluation of the plan’s effectiveness and completeness.

Once you hear back from Transport Canada, you will receive one of the following responses:

  • Approved
  • Interim approved, if your application needs to be investigated further
  • Refused
  • Revoked
  • Request for changes

If you are approved you will receive an approval document with important information about your ERAP such as expiry, conditions, modes of transport, and geographical area.


The review and approval process for an ERAP can vary in length. However, Transport Canada typically provides timelines for each stage of the process, helping applicants understand the expected duration and plan accordingly.

Your application processing time starts once Transport Canada has received your application and all supporting documents and restarts every time you resubmit to make changes.

If you apply online, an average ERAP application will take 20 business days to be reviewed. If you use alternative methods, such as having a member of the TDG Response Operations group assist on your application, it can take upwards of 60 business days


Safety Employees Training for ERAP

Safety manager training employees for ERAP | Credit: Freepik

Maintaining and Updating an ERAP

Once you’ve been approved you have to maintain your approval to remain compliant.

To keep your ERAP you must:

  • Ensure your ERAP can be implemented and will be effective in responding to a release or anticipated release of dangerous goods
  • Apply to renew your ERAP before it expires

Keep in mind, you have to submit your application in EOS at least 30 days before it expires.

Ongoing Training and Drills

Regular training and drills are vital for maintaining an ERAP’s effectiveness. This includes providing employees with updated information on hazardous materials, practicing response procedures regularly, and conducting mock emergency scenarios to test readiness.

Changes and Amendments

Any changes to the hazardous materials, response procedures, or contact information outlined in the ERAP must be promptly reported to Transport Canada. These amendments can be made online. Though, If you need to make any changes after you’ve been approved, you will have to re-apply.

Regular Reviews

Regularly reviewing and updating an ERAP is essential to ensure its effectiveness. As new risks emerge and regulations evolve, keeping the plan current helps maintain readiness and compliance with Transport Canada’s standards.

Record Keeping

Maintaining accurate records and documentation related to the ERAP is essential for compliance and readiness. Best practices include keeping detailed logs of training sessions, audits, and updates to the plan.



Understanding and complying with Transport Canada’s ERAP requirements is vital for anyone involved in the transport of dangerous goods. This comprehensive guide has highlighted the importance of ERAPs, their key components, and the benefits they offer to both businesses and public safety.

As you navigate the complexities of TDG regulations, consider reviewing your current emergency response plans and consulting with professionals if you need to develop or update an ERAP. By doing so, you can enhance your preparedness, protect public health, and ensure the safe transportation of hazardous materials.

This is a continuously evolving document with updates reflecting changes in regulations, procedures, and best practices. Last updated June 2024.


Additional Resources

For further information on ERAPs and TDG compliance, check out these useful links:

GUIDE: Do you need an ERAP?

GUIDE: How to apply for ERAP

GUIDE: What to do once you have an approved ERAP