Importing, Exporting and Transporting-in-Transit

Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Explosives Regulatory Division (ERD) controls the type and quantity of explosives that may be imported into Canada, exported from Canada, and transported in transit through Canada.

You need an Import, Export, or In Transit permit to import explosives into or export them from Canada, except for those under the direct control of the Department of National Defence or subject to personal exemptions.

Import and Export permits are granted for explosives that have been authorized in Canada. Samples going to the Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory (CanmetCERL) for testing are exempt. 

See the List of Authorized Explosives

A licence for storage is also needed to import large quantities or certain types of explosives. See acquisition, storage and sale.

Two types of permits are available through ERD:

Annual Import, Export, In-Transit Permit

  • The Annual Permit is valid for unlimited shipments during a 12-month period. For importations imports, the quantity in any one consignment is restricted by the storage requirements as prescribed in the Explosives Regulations, by licensed storage capacity, or as allowed by the permit. An Annual Permit can be amended at no cost after it has been issued.

Single Use Import, Export, In-Transit Permit

  • The Single Use Permit is valid for a single import, export, or shipment in-transit during a 12-month period. The quantity is as allowed by the permit. Once a Single Use Permit has been issued, no amendments are allowed.

Personal exemptions

The types and quantities of explosives shown in the Exemption Table below (from the Explosives Regulations, 2013) can be imported, exported or transported in transit without a permit if the following conditions are met:

  1. the explosive is imported, exported, or transported in transit for personal use and not for commercial purposes;
  2. the explosive enters or leaves Canada with the person importing or exporting it—or, if transported in transit, it remains with the person transporting it at all times;
  3. in the case of small arms cartridges, the cartridges do not include a tracer, incendiary or similar military component or device; and
  4. the quantity of the explosive being imported, exported and transported in transit is not more than the quantity set out in the table.
Explosives Type Quantity
Model rocket motors that each have a maximum total impulse of 80 newton-seconds (NFPA alpha designations A to E, as indicated on the motor or its packaging)
Avalanche airbag systems
Small arms cartridges 5,000 
Percussion caps (primers) for small arms cartridges 5,000 
Empty primed small arms cartridge cases 5,000 
Black powder and hazard category PE 1 black powder substitutes 8 kg in containers of 500 g or less 
Smokeless powder and hazard category PE 3 black powder substitutes 8 kg in containers of 4 kg or less 

Notes

  1. Blank cartridges are small arms cartridges.
  2. Inert / dummy articles and substances (empty of all explosives) are not regulated under the Explosives Act.
  3. Each individual 18 years of age and over may claim the above exemptions.
  4. The word “and” in the Quantity column of the above table, is used to denote that an importer, exporter, or person shipping in transit may import, export, ship in transit any or all of the explosives in the table in a single shipment. The word “and” does not feature in the Explosives Regulations but is added here for clarification purposes.
  5. Fireworks (such as pistol caps, firecrackers, pyrotechnics smoke signals, etc.) require a permit; see section on Importation, Exportation, and Transportation in Transit of Fireworks
  6. “Commercial purposes” means goods imported into Canada for sale or any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional or other like use.

Automotive Explosives Exemptions

  • Automotive explosives—such as pyrotechnic seat belt pre-tensioners and modules containing pyrotechnic inflators (i.e. airbags)—that the competent authority of the country of origin has classified as Class 9 under the UN Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods are exempt from requiring an Import, Export or In-Transit permit, whether in their original packaging or not.
  • Automotive explosives that are classified as Class 1 require an import, export, or in transit permit.
  • The importer, exporter, or freight forwarder should contact the manufacturer in order to ascertain the classification of the automotive explosives.

Other Exempted Explosives

  • Explosives diluted to less than 1% by weight, including diluted explosives used as reagents (for example, 1H-tetrazole), training kits for sniffer dogs and kits to test the functioning of machines that detect trace levels of explosives.
  • Christmas crackers containing less than 2 mg of an explosive substance.
  • Life-saving devices (for example, signals, flares and parachute release devices) that are being carried in an aircraft, train, vessel or vehicle as equipment that is necessary for its safe operation or for the safety of its occupants. 

Note:

Pyrotechnic distress signals and life-saving devices are for the use in the same aircraft, vessel, train or vehicles (already part of its safety equipment). If they are imported, exported, or transported in transit for future installation / use in other aircraft, vessel, train or vehicle they need a permit.

Import, export and transport in-transit of ammunition
Find out what you can bring into or out of Canada without a permit.

New reporting procedures
Find out about our new electronic Licence Management System (eLMS) for managing your explosives licensing needs.

Import, export and transport-in-transit of fireworks
Read about the various permits required to bring different types of fireworks into or out of Canada.

Application forms and fees for the import, export and in-transit transport of fireworks
Find information, forms and instructions for obtaining necessary permits.

Single Window Initiative and the Explosives Program
See specifications and instructions for photos that accompany applications.

 
Find out more