The Explosives Regulatory Division controls the type and quantity of authorized explosives that are imported into Canada with Importation Permits and through Importation Reporting.

Except for explosives under the direct control of the Department of National Defence and personal exemptions, an importation permit is required to import explosives into Canada.  Generally, importation permits are granted for the explosives that appear on the List of Authorized Explosives.  In order to import large quantities of explosives, licensing for storage is also required.

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

Annual Import Permit

  • The Annual Import Permit is valid for unlimited shipments during a 12-month period.  However, the quantity is restricted to the storage and licence capacity of the importer, or as allowed by the permit.  An Annual Import Permit can be amended after it has been issued.

Single Use Import Permit

  • The Single Use Importation Permit is valid for a single importation during a 12-month period.  The quantity is restricted to the storage and licence capacity of the importer, or as allowed by the permit.  Once a Single Use Importation Permit has been issued, no amendments will be allowed.

Personal Exemptions

The Exemption Table in the Explosive Regulations, 2013 outlines what types and quantities of explosives can be imported into Canada for personal use and not for sale without an importation permit.

Consumer fireworks cannot be imported under the personal exemption clause.

A person may import an explosive set out in the table to this section without a permit if the following conditions are met:

  1. the explosive is imported for personal use and not for commercial purposes;
  2. the explosive enters Canada with the person importing it;
  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

Explosives that may be imported without an explosives importation permit

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
2. Avalanche airbag systems 3
3. Small arms cartridges 5000
4. Percussion caps (primers) for small arms cartridges 5000
5. Empty primed small arms cartridge cases 5000
6. Black powder and hazard category PE 1 black powder substitutes 8 kg, in containers of 500 g or less
7. Smokeless powder and hazard category PE 3 black powder substitutes 8 kg, in containers of 4 kg or less

Note 1: Blank cartridges are small arms cartridges. 
Note 2: Inert / dummy articles and substances (empty of all explosives) are not regulate under the Explosives Act.
Note 3: Each individual in a vehicle may be able to claim the above exemptions. 
Note 4: A person must be at least 18 years old to import an explosive.

Automotive Explosives Exemptions

  • Automotive explosives (for example, pyrotechnic seat belt pretensioners and modules containing pyrotechnic inflators (ie 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 permit.
  • Automotive explosives that are classified as Class 1 require an import permit.
  • The importer should contact the manufacturer in order to ascertain the classification of the automotive explosives.

Other Exemptions

  • 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; and
  • 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;
  • 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 for future installation / use in other aircraft, vessel, train or vehicle they need an import permit.

Shipments in Transit

Until January 31st, 2015, explosives may enter, transit and exit Canada without the benefit of an Explosives Importation Permit when transported in bond and in a manner authorized by or under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.