On April 23, 2014, the Minister of Transport issued Protective Direction (PD) 33 requiring anyone transporting certain flammable liquids by rail tank car in Canada to submit an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) to Transport Canada. PD33 applies to substances such as petroleum crude oil, gasoline, and other petroleum products that did not previously require an ERAP. An ERAP must be in place if even a single tank car is transporting one of these substances. Shippers and importers had until September 20, 2014, to comply.
ERAPs help local emergency responders at an accident site by providing them with 24-hour access to technical experts and timely assistance by industry response teams with specialized equipment. The ERAP must include a detailed description of the actions a shipper or importer will take in the event of the actual or imminent release of a dangerous substance.
Prior to approving an ERAP, Transport Canada must assess its effectiveness. Among other criteria, applicants must demonstrate their ability to provide technical advice; the response capabilities they can bring to the scene of a flammable liquids emergency; and their knowledge of firefighting and access to equipment to support first responders.
The updates to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR) incorporate PD33 into the TDGR. They also add two additional shipping names to the ERAP requirement, to capture sour petroleum crude oil and ethanol transported under the name "Alcohols, N.O.S".
The TDG Emergency Response Task Force was also announced by the Minister on April 23, 2014. Its role is to conduct further research, assess, evaluate, and make recommendations to advance and make improvements to the ERAP program, with a primary focus on the transportation of flammable liquids by rail.