Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations - Overview
In Canada, all three levels of government contribute to environmental protection and have a role to play in managing hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material.
- The federal government regulates transboundary movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material through the Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. In addition, it is responsible of negotiating international agreements related to chemicals and waste.
- Provincial and territorial governments establish measures and criteria for licensing hazardous-waste generators, carriers, and treatment facilities, in addition to controlling movements of waste within their jurisdictions.
- Municipal governments establish collection, recycling, composting and disposal programs within their jurisdictions.
Environment and Climate Change Canada implements the terms of international agreements related to hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials to which it is a Party. In signing these agreements, Canada made a commitment to develop national legislation to promote the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material.
Context and application of the Regulations
The Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations (the Regulations) came into force on October 31, 2021. They merge 3 regulations that deal with the control of international and interprovincial movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
These regulations set requirements to:
- ensure that shipments of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable materials crossing Canada's borders reach their intended destination
- reduce the risk of a release of contaminants into the environment
- strengthen Canada's ability to meet its international obligations
The export of many scrap/waste commodities (for example, plastic, paper, or metal scrap) not commonly considered hazardous in Canada may be controlled as hazardous under the Regulations. A waste or recyclable material is considered as hazardous in the Regulations, and its export requires a permit from ECCC if:
- the country of destination prohibits its import
- it is considered hazardous by the state of import or transit
- it is prohibited for import if certain requirements are not met, or
- it is controlled under the Basel Convention
Applying for a permit
If you wish to export, import, or convey in transit hazardous waste (HW) or hazardous recyclable material (HRM), you must:
- submit a permit application to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) prior to shipping
- fulfill all permit conditions from the time the materials leave the place of origin until they are recycled or disposed of
These responsibilities cannot be delegated.
No permit is required for interprovincial-only movements of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material. However, a movement document is always needed.
To apply for a permit, you must be:
- a Canadian resident or a corporation with a place of business in Canada AND
- own or operate a facility that exports or imports hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable materials, OR
- purchase or sell hazardous recyclable materials for recycling in Canada or another OECD country, or
- a municipality, His Majesty in right of Canada, a province or a territory
To get a permit, you must submit a notification online through the Canadian Notification and Movement Tracking System (CNMTS). The system will automatically assign a notification reference number.
To access the CNMTS, you must obtain a Government of Canada key (GC key) and a profile connected to an organization in the ECCC Single Window.
Once you submit your notification, competent authorities from the importing, exporting and transit countries will exchange information and review it. Each competent authority will make a decision based on their regulations and may apply specific conditions.
A permit is issued once all regulatory requirements are met and competent authorities give approval. You will be advised by email when your permit is uploaded to the CNMTS.
Information required for your permit
You will need the information specified in Schedule 3 of the Regulations to complete the electronic notification form in the CNMTS, including:
- name of the shipping facility (Identify only one shipping site) in the country of origin
- name of the receiving facility (Identify only one delivery site) in the country of destination
- use a street address, not a P.O. Box, for the shipping and receiving facility addresses
- include at least one authorized carrier that will or may be involved in the shipment, and at least one commercial port of entry and/or exit
- name of any authorized facility other than the receiving facility that will perform a final operation
- the type of disposal or recycling operation that will be used (Schedule 1)
- no more than one interim disposal or recycling operation can be done in the country of destination, always followed by a final operation
- the description and quantity of either waste or recyclable material
- for an export or import, a notification must relate either to hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material
- for a transit, it may address both on a single notification
- you must properly describe all hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material included in the notification
- list classification codes used to describe each waste or recyclable material in order of importance
The notification may include one or more shipments.
The information contained in the Canadian notification and the foreign notification must be identical.
Some countries may need additional information to assess the import (for example, chemical tests, business certificates, photos). Please contact us to check if this is the case.
When you export to the United States and if the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material are subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), you must provide RCRA identification numbers for:
- the foreign importer
- the receiving facility
- the final facility
To avoid an objection from the US EPA, ensure that all information is correct (#RCRA, name, address, etc.).
A new notification is required for any changes to the information. It is not possible to make changes to a notification after you submit it.
Types of permits
- Export from or import to Canada following transit through a foreign country
- Transit in Canada
- Return to Canada
- Return to foreign country of origin
You will need a signed contract between the importer, exporter and authorized facilities. Authorized representatives must sign and date it. You do not have to send it with your permit application. However, you will need to give a certified statement of its validity. All details in the contract (materials, importer, exporter and authorized facilities) must match the permit application and address all regulatory requirements:
- for imports to Canada, see paragraphs 8(4)(c) to (e) and 14(1)(h) to (k)
- for exports from Canada, see paragraphs 20(4)(c) to (e) and 26(1)(i) to (l)
Division 7 of the Regulations requires liability insurance to ensure that resources are available to deal with an accident or other incident that may occur. Foreign governments or authorities may also require liability insurance. While you do not need to attach the insurance policy to the permit application, you have to give a certified statement of its validity.
You need to complete a movement document with a unique reference number for each transboundary shipment of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material. These documents are sometimes also known as transportation or shipment manifests. They allow Canadian authorities and other jurisdictions to track shipments.
How to create a movement document
You must use the Canadian Notification and Movement Tracking System (CNMTS) to create and submit movement documents for:
- international shipments of Hazardous Waste or hazardous recyclable material, including transit through Canada
- interprovincial movements, unless you obtain a reference number directly from a provincial or territorial authority
Movement documents not submitted in the CNMTS (carbon copies, faxes, emails and letters) are not accepted.
To create and submit movement documents on an organization’s behalf in the CNMTS, you must have:
- a Government of Canada key (GC Key)
- an ECCC Single Window profile connected to the permit holder’s organization
To ease border crossings, fill out movement documents and all attachments during the transfer between the exporter or consignor, carrier(s) and receiving facility or consignee.
The movement document consists of 3 parts:
- the Canadian or foreign exporter, or the consignor can complete Part A
- all carriers involved in the shipment must complete Part B
- the Canadian importer or foreign receiver, or the consignee can complete Part C
Permit holder (exports, imports, transits)
The permit holder or their authorized representative creates and submits movement documents in the CNMTS for shipments made under their permit. Your movement document for an international shipment covers both the interprovincial and international tracking requirements.
You must ensure adherence of the movement document content to what has been authorized in your permit(s). Details contained in Part A of your movement document must match those contained in your permit. Any differences could lead to delays or refusals at the border, or potential enforcement measures. To enable quick data entry, information is imported into the movement document from the selected permits. You should investigate any warnings of potential non-compliance identified in the CNMTS. Take all possible means to comply, such as
- completing missing information
- correcting erroneous data
You are responsible for ensuring that relevant parts of the movement document are properly completed and sent to:
- the foreign importer/exporter
- the appropriate authorities (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
- the province or territory where requested by that entity
- to the authorized carrier(s)
Foreign nationals/companies may obtain movement documents for transits through Canada under an approved transit permit, but not for Canadian imports or exports. Canadian importers of shipments from the USA must obtain the movement document. They must also give it to the American exporter to track its shipment to a Canadian facility.
Within 3 working days after the delivery date of the shipment to the receiving facility, you must submit parts B and C of the movement document through the CNMTS.
Consignor/Shipper (interprovincial movements)
The consignor is the person who ships hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material from one province to another, on their behalf or on behalf of another person.
As a consignor you must:
- check with the appropriate provincial authorities to see if they issue unique reference numbers for interprovincial movements. ECCC will only issue the unique reference number that is needed on the movement document when the province or territory won’t give it
- pay all applicable provincial fees for movement documents directly to the applicable government authorities
- generate the movement documents in the CNMTS
- complete Part A and review all boxes for accuracy and completeness of the movement document
- ensure that Box 8 contains the quantity being shipped in litres or kilograms
- sign in Box 20 and give the shipment date in Box 21 and the expected date of the shipment arrival
- ensure that only the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material and quantities indicated in the movement document are shipped
- ensure you comply with the movement document requirements set by provincial/territorial authorities
- submit Part A to the authorities of the provinces or territories who request it, within 3 working days after the day the shipment is sent
A carrier must be authorized to transport hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material in cross-border shipments. The authorization is given by the competent authority of the jurisdiction where the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material is transported.
An authorized carrier may also be the permit holder when an international shipment transits through Canada. Multiple authorized carriers may participate in a cross-border shipment.
As a carrier, you must:
- complete Part B of the movement document for your portion of the movement
- sign and date Box 26
- keep a copy for your records
- give a copy to the next carrier (if applicable)
- send a copy to the permit holder in the case of an international shipment
- be able to provide a copy of the movement document to competent authorities at any time during the shipment
- display the appropriate safety mark(s) on hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material shipments considered to be dangerous goods in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations
A consignee is the person who receives shipments at a site that they own, operate or otherwise control.
A receiving facility is authorized by the authorities within their jurisdiction, to receive hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material for disposal or recycling under permits.
The receiving facility or consignee must:
- complete Part C of the movement document according to the requirements of the Regulations
- check yes or no to indicate if the information is the same as in Part A, if “no”, indicate the destination
- indicate the date of receipt
- ensure Box 31 has an accurate quantity of material received in litres or kilograms, according to the unit used in the permit (if applicable)
- sign in Box 37 and add a phone number
- hand out a copy to the permit holder or consignor, and to the authorized carrier(s)
- retain a copy for their records
Distribution and collection of movement document(s)
There are many ways to distribute documents and permits for shipments of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material. The following example scenario presents one way to distribute this information. Permit holders can use contracts to support the collection of movement documents from their business partners.
- The permit holder or consignor, as applicable:
- completes Part A of the movement document in the CNMTS. Part B may also be completed in the CNMTS at this time if the information is known
- prints a copy
- signs it
- provides it to the first carrier, and to the foreign exporter if applicable
Notes: for quick data entry, information is imported into the movement document from the selected permits, for international movements.
You can save parts A and B as a draft for later submission to ECCC. Be sure to follow the time limits set out in the Regulations.
Authorities of the province or territory of import or export may need a copy of the movement document at the time of shipment and delivery.
- When receiving the shipment, the first carrier:
- completes Part B on his copy of the movement document
- signs it
- provides a copy of the updated document to the permit holder if applicable
- keeps a copy of the movement document
- provides the movement document to the next carrier if applicable
The carrier reviews the permit(s) and movement document(s) for accuracy. He ensures:
- their company is listed in the permit(s)
- the port of entry or exit is listed in the permit(s), when applicable
The shipment can now proceed.
- Each subsequent carrier:
- completes a new Part B on the same movement document when receiving the shipment
- signs it
- keeps a copy of the movement document
- gives the movement document to the next carrier or the receiving facility as applicable
Note: all carriers must keep a copy of the movement document. They must provide a copy to the permit holder for international movements. They should also receive a copy of the final movement document(s).
- A carrier who crosses the Canadian border provides a copy of the permit(s) and movement document(s) to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in the manner and form requested by CBSA.
- When the receiving facility or consignee, as applicable, receives the shipment, they:
- fill out and sign Part C
- send the completed copy of the movement document(s) to the permit holder or consignor, and to provincial/territorial authorities who have requested it
Note: During shipment, the permit holder must enter each carrier's Part B information into the CNMTS. He must retain a copy of these documents, and make them available to an enforcement officer upon request.
The processing of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material can begin.
- The processing facility:
- proceeds to the disposal or recycling
- gives a written confirmation of disposal or recycling to the permit holder for each hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material line listed in the movement document(s)
- informs the permit holder (if applicable) of any issues with the processing
- The permit holder submits the confirmation of disposal or recycling in the CNMTS
Important: a copy of the movement document(s) must be available to be provided to competent authorities at any time during shipment.
Returning or rerouting a shipment
The permit holder must notify the Minister through the CNMTS if a shipment cannot be completed as planned because:
- it is refused by the country of import or transit
- it is refused by an authorized facility
- an authorized facility is unable to receive, dispose of, or process the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material in accordance with the terms of the permit
- a shipment cannot be completed due to unforeseen incidents
Two options are available when this occurs:
- obtain a new permit and return the shipment to the facility it originated from (divisions 5 and 6)
- obtain a letter of consent and reroute the shipment to an alternate authorized facility in the country where the shipment was refused. The permit holder is responsible for storing the shipment at a facility authorized by the local jurisdiction until a solution is found
The return or rerouting must occur within 90 days of notifying the Minister or by the date set by the Minister.
Return to Canada
After the Minister gives approval to return an entire or partial shipment to Canada, the permit holder must:
- submit a notification for an import permit for the purpose of a return
- indicate the original movement document number on the new movement document to be returned to Canada
The original Canadian exporter must make the application and include the required information.
Once the permit is issued, the permit holder must:
- obtain a new movement document
- return the shipment to the facility from which it was originally exported unless another facility is identified pursuant to the terms of the new import permit
- ensure that copies of the new import permit and the new movement document are completed and submitted as prescribed
The return of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material must occur within 90 days of notifying the Minister, or the date set by the Minister.
Return to foreign country
If the Minister gives approval to return an entire or partial shipment to its country of origin, the permit holder must:
- submit an application for an export permit for the purpose of a return
- indicate the original movement document number on the new movement document to be returned to the country of origin
The original Canadian importer must make the application and include the required information.
Once the permit is issued, the permit holder must:
- get a new movement document
- return the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material to the foreign facility from which the shipment was originally exported, unless another facility is identified per the new export permit
- ensure that copies of the new export permit and the new movement document are completed and submitted as prescribed
You have 90 days to return the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material after notifying the Minister. The Minister may set a different date. In such a case, use this date.
Rerouting to alternative facility
Canadian importers and exporters may reroute a shipment to another authorized facility in the country of destination when:
- the original authorized facility refuses or is unable to receive the shipment, or
- the authorities of the country of import or transit refuse the shipment
In foreign countries, reroutings must be coordinated with the foreign receiver and the foreign competent authorities.
Reroutings can only proceed after receiving consent from the Minister. If needed, the permit holder must store the shipment at a facility authorized by the local jurisdiction until the Minister gives written confirmation that the alternative facility is authorized to dispose of or recycle the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable materials.
A rerouted shipment must be disposed of or recycled by a final operation within one year.
The original movement document number must be indicated on the new movement document to be rerouted.
Before shipping to an alternative facility, the Canadian importer/exporter must provide the following information to the Minister:
- the name, civic and mailing addresses, e-mail address, and contact person for the Canadian importer, the foreign sender, and any authorized carriers
- the quantity of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material to be rerouted, using the same units of measurement as in the original permit
- the reason of rerouting
- if the quantity being rerouted is different than the quantity that was originally exported/imported, the reason for the difference
- a waste/recyclable description (it should match the description of the original permit, or explain the difference)
- the notification number and line-item number of the original export permit of the goods being rerouted
- copy of the movement document describing the original export/import with signatures
Recycling or disposal of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material
An authorized facility is a site that is authorized by the competent authorities of the jurisdiction where it is located to dispose of or recycle hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material. The authorized facility must use a recycling or disposal operation set out in schedule 1 of the Regulations.
An authorized facility can only process a specific waste stream if they are listed for this stream in a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The operation used for disposal or recycling must match the operation approved in the permit.
The authorized facility is responsible for either interim or final operation on hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material. A confirmation of disposal or recycling is needed for both interim and final operations.
The authorized facility completes the interim disposal or recycling operation within 180 days after the date of the shipment delivery. The hazardous waste or the hazardous recyclable material must undergo final disposal or recycling within one year following an interim operation.
Note: In the event that the permit conditions differ from the conditions listed here, the permit conditions shall prevail.
Hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material not requiring interim operations
The final disposal or recycling operation must be completed within 1 year of the shipment delivery. However, local authorities may require the work to be completed within a shorter time frame. Facilities must comply with time frames set by local authorities.
The authorized facility must:
- notify the permit holder when interim and final disposal or recycling operations are complete
- give written confirmation of disposal or recycling to the permit holder or consignee for each hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material line of the movement document
- include the original movement document reference number and the waste line number of the applicable hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material
The authorized facility informs the permit holder of any issue with the processing operation. If the facility cannot or refuses to dispose of or recycle the hazardous waste or the hazardous recyclable material in accordance with the permit, they must notify the permit holder immediately.
Confirmation of disposal or recycling
The permit holder must submit a written confirmation that the hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material has been properly disposed of or recycled.
This confirmation is required for all permits, except for:
- transit through Canada (Division 4)
- export from and import to Canada following transit through a foreign country (Division 3)
The confirmation of disposal or recycling (CDR) must be submitted using the CNMTS, within 30 days of disposal or recycling, and include the following:
- the movement document reference number and information line number
- the quantity of hazardous waste or hazardous recyclable material
- confirmation that it has been disposed of or recycled in accordance with the permit conditions
- confirmation that the interim operation has been completed in accordance with the permit conditions, when applicable
- the name and phone number of the person who signed, and the date
Depending on your role, you must keep a copy of your permit(s) (if applicable), movement document(s) and any other document(s) that demonstrate compliance at your principal place of business in Canada for 5 years after:
- the latest date on which any of the permits expire
- the day on which the shipment is shipped/delivered
- the day on which you took possession of the shipment
Records must be available if requested by an enforcement officer.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is responsible for administering and enforcing the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) and its regulations, including the Cross-Border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations. When verifying compliance with the Regulations, ECCC Enforcement Officers act in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy for the CEPA.
- Cross-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Recyclable Material Regulations: User guide
- Canadian Notification and Movement Tracking System: User guide
- Waste classification user guide
- International agreements on waste
- Basel Convention plastic waste amendments
- Hazardous waste news bulletin
- Resilogs: Notifications for proposed export, import and transit of hazardous wastes and hazardous recyclable materials
- Canada Border Services Agency – Customs tariff
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations
- The ... statistics on the international movements of hazardous waste and hazardous recyclable material
- Permits of equivalent levels of environmental safety
- Consultations on managing and reducing waste
- Notices and advisories: hazardous wastes or recyclables
- Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
- Natural Resources Canada
Waste Reduction and Management Division
351 St. Joseph Boulevard, 9th Floor
Gatineau QC K1A 0H3
Canadian Notification and Movement Tracking System: firstname.lastname@example.org
This page provides a summary of the Regulations and does not include all legal requirements. If there is any inconsistency between the information contained in this document and the Canada Gazette, Part II (CGII) published text or the Justice Canada regulatory text, the CGII and Justice Canada texts take precedence.
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