Importation, Exportation, and Transportation in Transit

The Explosives Regulatory Division (ERD) controls the type and quantity of explosives that are imported into Canada, exported from Canada, and transported in transit through Canada.

Except for explosives under the direct control of the Department of National Defence and personal exemptions, an Import, Export, or In Transit permit is required to import explosives into / from Canada. Import and Export permits are granted for the explosives that have been authorized in Canada, with the exemption of samples going to the Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory (CanmetCERL) for testing. See the List of Authorized Explosives. In order to import large quantities or certain types of explosives, licence for storage is also required. See section on Acquisition, Storage, and Sale.

Listed below are the two types of Permits available through ERD:

Annual Import, Export, In Transit Permit

  • The Annual Permit is valid for unlimited shipments during a 12-month period. For importations, 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 after it has been issued at no cost.

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 will be allowed.

Personal Exemptions

The Exemption Table in the Explosives Regulations, 2013 outlines what types and quantities of explosives can be imported, exported, or transported in transit for personal use and not for sale 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 it; or exporting it or, if the explosive is transported in transit, it remains with the person transporting it at all times; and
  3. in the case of small arms cartridges, the cartridges do not include a tracer, incendiary or similar military component or device (for example, an armour-piercing projectile); 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.
Number Explosives Type Quantity
1. Model rocket motors that each have a maximum total impulse of 40 newton-seconds (NFPA alpha designations A to E, as indicated on the motor or its packaging) 6 and
2. Avalanche airbag systems 3 and
3. Small arms cartridges 5000 and
4. Percussion caps (primers) for small arms cartridges 5000 and
5. Empty primed small arms cartridge cases 5000 and
6. Black powder and hazard category PE 1 black powder substitutes 8 kg, in containers of 500 g or less and
7. Smokeless powder and hazard category PE 3 black powder substitutes 8 kg, in containers of 4 kg or less and


  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

Automotive Explosives Exemptions

  • Automotive explosives {for example, pyrotechnic seat belt pretensioners and modules containing pyrotechnic inflators (i.e. airbags)}, whether or not in their original packaging, that the competent authority of their country of origin has classified as Class 9 under the UN Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods published by the United Nations are exempted from the need of an import, export or in transit permit.
  • 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 that do not require an Import, Export, or In Transit Permit

  • 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.