What is Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO)?

Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) are military explosives that did not explode or function as intended. Some examples of UXO are unexploded bombs, rockets, grenades, artillery shells, flares, mortars, and hazardous residues that may remain after a partial detonation. If disturbed, UXO can cause injury or death.

Over the years, hundreds of locations across Canada have been used for military training and weapons ranges. Wartime action along Canada’s coasts, and incidents involving ships, planes or vehicles carrying explosive ordnance have also created “legacy sites” where UXO may still remain today.

What UXO looks like


UXO lying in the grass.

UXO will not look like it did when it was first made. It will have been in the dirt or water for many years and will likely look old and corroded. It may be missing parts and could look like a piece of old pipe, an old car muffler, a pop can, or small pieces of corroded metal. UXO does not usually lay neatly on the ground or underwater. It is usually partly exposed or completely buried.

UXO submerged in water.

UXO can also move or be exposed over time. Freeze-thaw cycles, flooding and storms can uncover buried ordnance or move it from place to place.  It can also become more unstable and more dangerous the older it gets.

Corroded UXO.

A simple rule of thumb is to not touch or disturb corroded metal that you find on the ground or in the water. This is a good idea even if you are not in an area that was used for military purposes.

Whether it is old or new, complete or in pieces, all UXO must be considered dangerous. Disturbing it can make it explode, causing death or injury.

If you see something that looks like UXO:

1. Don't touch it!
If disturbed, UXO can explode, causing death or injury.

2. Note the location and leave the area
Remember where you saw the object. Go back the same way you came.

3. Call 9-1-1 or local police
As soon as possible, report what you found by calling 9-1-1 or contacting local police.

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