Explosives Security Directive

1.0 OVERVIEW

In support of the ongoing national security program to increase explosives security, the Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada’s Explosives Safety and Security Branch is introducing new security requirements for all factory licence, manufacturing certificate, magazine licence, import permit, and export permit holders of types E (high), I (initiation systems), or D (military or law enforcement) explosives. Security requirements now include:  

  1. a Security Plan for manufacturing and/or storing high-risk explosives, and
  2. an individual/personnel screening for persons with access to high-risk explosives. 

Part 5, Manufacturing Explosives, section 60(7), and Part 6, Magazine Licences and Storage in a Licensed Magazine, section 145(5), of the Explosives Regulations, 2013 require a Security Plan to be prepared by all licence and certificate holders involved with types E (high), I (initiating systems), and D (military or law enforcement) explosives, and that it be submitted as part of their licence or certificate application. These include both the storage and manufacture of types E, I, and D explosives and, by implication, will include the site as a whole.

The Security Plan is designed to bring current programs together and formalize response and reporting procedures. It is also designed to formalize the assessment of the risks associated with explosives that may have been done informally and provides for reassessment should circumstances in or around the site change.

While the Security Plan focuses more on the physical and surveillance aspects of the site, screening addresses the human aspect for those who have unsupervised access to types E, I, and D explosives. The objective of the screening requirement is to protect Canada’s supply of high-risk explosives from persons with known criminal/terrorist histories or associations who might attempt to access it by seeking employment within the industry or by purchasing explosives with forged or fraudulently acquired federal licences. 

In summary, this guideline addresses all security-related programs, including those already in place and planned. It also outlines some of the critical elements that will be looked for during the review process prior to issuing a licence, certificate, or permit.

All applicants are reminded of the provision contained within section 29 of the Explosives Act, which states:

“Nothing in this Act relieves any person of the obligation to comply with the requirements of any Act of Parliament relating to explosives or components of explosives or the requirements of any licence law, or other law or by-law of any province or municipality, lawfully enacted in relation to explosives, especially requirements in relation to the acquisition, possession, storage, handling, sale, transportation or delivery of explosives or components or explosives;”

2.0  EXISTING AND NEW SECURITY-RELATED PROGRAMS

Although the Security Plan is a new requirement, many of the essential elements of the plan have already been adopted and are in place (e.g., the construction of magazines and storage units, the magazine surveillance program, key control requirements, and the requirements for reporting incidents and thefts). This section summarizes the existing explosive security programs and the new ones.  

2.1  Storage Standards for Explosives

Explosives must be stored in a container that provides for their security. This is the most essential element of the overall Security Plan for types E, I, and D explosives.

Sections 63(4) and 148 of the Explosives Regulations, 2013 provide the structural requirements of magazines for the storage of explosives. They state that every magazine must be constructed so that it is well ventilated and resistant to theft, weather, and fire. In addition, section 145(3)(f)(ii) requires that the magazine type number, as set out in the Storage Standards for Industrial Explosives, May 2001, be provided, or if not meeting one of the standard types, its construction must be detailed. All types of E, I, and D explosives, as well as large quantities of propellant and black powders, must be stored in a magazine constructed to these standards. 

2.2  Key Control Plan

A Key Control Plan must be put in place for each magazine and is required by the Regulations; however, it does not need to be submitted with a licence application or renewal application. The requirements for a Key Control Plan are detailed in Part II, Section 5.0, Key Control, in the Storage Standards for Industrial Explosives, May 2001, and in the Key Control Plan Guideline. A Key Control Plan is required for all explosive storage magazines, not just for high-risk explosives.

2.3  Magazine Security Surveillance Program (Directive Letter #61)

A surveillance program is an integral part of ensuring the security of explosives for types E, I, and D explosives. The requirements for a magazine surveillance program are outlined in Directive Letter #61 issued by the Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada.

Note that if the magazine is not accessible for extended periods (e.g., winter conditions) or if the operation has been completed or halted for a period of 30 days or more, then it is highly recommended that the magazine(s) be emptied and the explosives be returned to the vendor. Such action will reduce the risk associated with leaving explosives unattended for extended periods, thereby reducing the risk of a theft. It will also remove the burden of checking the magazine(s) on a frequent basis.

2.4  Security Plan

The Security Plan must include: (a) an assessment of the security risks resulting from the presence of explosives at the magazine, factory, or satellite or client site; (b) a description of the measures that will be taken to minimize those risks; (c) a description of the procedures that will be followed in response to security incidents; and (d) a description of the procedures to be followed to report security incidents. The Regulations also specify the standards to be met in relation to activities (manufacturing, storage, sale, use) involving types E , I, and D explosives for the purposes of protecting persons, property, and the environment from harm and/or keeping dangerous substances secure.

The purpose of a Security Plan is to enhance and maintain the security of a licensee’s operation by assessing a site for security risks and developing measures to address security issues by incorporating current security programs and developing new ones if necessary, and to formalize responses to, and reporting procedures for, security incidents. A Security Plan also enables the licensee to:

  1. see how various elements of a security program integrate;
  2. set out roles and responsibilities for the security program, thereby ensuring tasks are assigned, understood, documented, tracked, and organized in a consistent manner;
  3. identify partners and resources in regards to enhancing and maintaining the security of the operations; and
  4. adjust security preparations and operations in response to changing circumstances.

A separate document titled Security Plan Guideline has been prepared to provide details on developing a Security Plan and includes a sample for the preparation of a Security Plan for types E, I, and D explosives manufactured or stored at magazines, factories, satellite sites, or under a licensee’s control at client sites.

2.5  Screening

The objective of the screening requirement is to protect Canada’s supply of high-risk explosives from persons with known criminal/terrorist histories or associations who may attempt to access it by seeking employment within the industry or by purchasing explosives with forged or fraudulently acquired federal licences.

The Explosives Regulations, 2013 introduce a new requirement for all factory licence, manufacturing certificate, magazine licence, import permit, and export permit holders of types E (high), I (initiation systems), and D (military and law enforcement) explosives to undergo screening for the purposes of protecting persons, property, and the environment from harm and/or keeping dangerous substances secure.

Screening is for federal licence, certificate, and permit holders and their employees who will have unsupervised access to types E, I, and D explosives. These persons will need to have screening conducted and obtain an approval letter or possess acceptable equivalent documents such as a Permis Général, FAST card, NEXUS card, or a Firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL). Screening is for workers within the explosives industry and requires a criminal record check conducted by the police.

The screening of individuals is an important aspect of the overall explosives security. It is the responsibility of the licence holder to ensure that all employees who are required to undergo screening have an approval letter or are in possession of an equivalent permit or card. A list of those individuals who require an approval letter is required to be submitted on a yearly basis upon renewal of a licence, certificate, or permit. A separate guideline document titled Screening Guideline is available detailing the screening program and the licence, certificate, or permit holder’s obligations under the program.