Importing, exporting and transporting explosives
To import explosives into Canada, or to export them from Canada to another country, you need an import or export permit. There are a few exceptions and personal exemptions (see below). A licence for storage is also needed to import large quantities or certain types of explosives. You must ensure that explosives imported into Canada or exported from Canada are authorized in Canada. To learn whether an explosives product is authorized in Canada, consult the list of authorized explosives. If a product is not authorized in Canada, you can apply to have it authorized.
To transport explosives originating in another country through Canada and onward to another country (transporting in-transit), you need an in-transit permit. You do not need to ensure that explosives transported in-transit are authorized in Canada. This is an exception; all other explosives in Canada must be authorized.
On this page
- Applying for a permit to import, export or transport in-transit
- Reporting imports or exports
- Providing import information through the Canada Border Services Agency
- Personal exemptions
- Other exceptions and exemptions
The following guidance is for anyone involved in importing, exporting or transporting explosives. For situations not covered here, including exemptions and conditions, consult the Explosives Regulations.
In general, you do not need a permit to transport explosives within Canada (see two exceptions, below). However, whenever you are transporting explosives within Canada, you need to meet requirements in Part 9 of the Explosives Regulations and requirements for the transportation of dangerous goods. These requirements depend on the classification and quantities of the explosives you are transporting. Classification information is provided in the list of authorized explosives. For more information, consult Transportation of dangerous goods in Canada or the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations .
You need a permit under the Explosives Regulations to:
- use a flatbed trailer to transport certain explosive articles or equipment (see Application for permit to transport using a flatbed trailer)
- transport non-explosive items in a vehicle that contains more than 2000 kilograms of certain explosives (see Application for permit to transport non-explosive items with explosives)
Applying for a permit to import, export or transport in-transit
To apply for a permit, use the electronic Licence Management System (eLMS). To import Type D (military and law enforcement explosives), Type E (high explosives) or Type I (initiation systems) explosives, you must meet the screening requirements in Part 8 of the Explosives Regulations. Use the form below if you don’t have an equivalent document and need to apply for an approval letter:
- F08-01: Screening – Application for an approval letter (PDF, 498 KB)
- Guideline for applying for an approval letter (HTML)
There are no fees to export explosives or transport explosives in-transit. To import explosives, consult the web page on fees and service standards (annual import permit, single-use import permit and authorization for a specified period).
Reporting imports or exports
If you import or export explosives, you must report these activities annually. If you have an import permit, you must report the volumes of explosives you imported into Canada. If you have an export permit, you must report the volumes of explosives exported from Canada. If you are enrolled in the electronic Licence Management System (eLMS), you can use the system to make your reports. Otherwise, you can use the form F04-02 Transaction Report. For Type D (military and law enforcement explosives), Type E (high explosives) or Type I (initiation systems) explosives, you must also submit F07-02 Annual Report.
Providing import information through the Canada Border Services Agency
Through the Single Window Initiative (SWI), you can provide all required import information electronically to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). In turn, the CBSA transmits the information to the appropriate department or agency responsible for regulating the goods. This process streamlines and simplifies the import process and significantly reduces the paper burden on the business community.
The SWI allows you to transfer data on border crossings involving explosives to Natural Resources Canada. Natural Resources Canada sends CBSA data and business rules, and CBSA sends Natural Resources Canada validated post-arrival data to process in our electronic Licence Management System (eLMS).
Importers or persons acting on their behalf (brokers) can submit to the CBSA the information Natural Resources Canada requires for compliance with explosives regulations. Brokers can use an Integrated Import Declaration (IID) to submit the information to CBSA up to 90 days in advance of arrival. The Trade Chain Partner can receive recommended border decisions up to 90 days in advance. For import transactions using the IID, the importer does not have to submit an Import Report; Natural Resources Canada receives the information directly from CBSA.
Brokers can see latest information about the SWI on CBSA’s webpage.
For those importers not using brokers, Natural Resources Canada continues to support the paper process at the border. The paper process is expected to take longer at the border than pre-arrival IID submission with a Recommended Release decision. For paper permit import transactions, the Import Report must be submitted.
You can import, export or transport in-transit certain types and quantities of explosives without a permit (see table). You must be 18 years of age or older. The explosive must be for your personal use, not for sale. You must accompany the explosive as it enters or leaves Canada. If you are transporting in-transit, you must remain with the explosive at all times.
|Model rocket motors with a maximum total impulse of 80 newton-seconds (National Fire Protection Association [NFPA] alpha designations A to E, as indicated on the motor or its packaging)
|Avalanche airbag systems
|Small arms cartridges (includes blank cartridges) (import or export)
Must not include a tracer, incendiary or similar military component or device
|Small arms cartridges (includes blank cartridges) (transport in transit)
Must not include a tracer, incendiary or similar military component or device
|Percussion caps (primers) for small arms cartridges (import and export)
|Percussion caps (primers) for small arms cartridges (transport in transit)
|Empty primed small arms cartridge cases (import and export)
|Empty primed small arms cartridge cases (transport in transit)
|Black powder and hazard category PE 1 black powder substitutes
|8 kilograms in containers of 500 grams or less
|Smokeless powder and hazard category PE 3 black powder substitutes
|8 kilograms in containers of 4 kilograms or less
- Inert / dummy articles and substances (empty of all explosives) are not regulated under the Explosives Act.
- Fireworks (such as pistol caps, firecrackers and pyrotechnics smoke signals) require a permit; see Importing, exporting and transporting fireworks.
Other exceptions and exemptions
- Military explosives under the control of the Department of National Defence.
- Automotive explosives, such as pyrotechnic seat belt pre-tensioners and modules containing airbags classified as UN Class 9, whether in their original packaging or not. Automotive explosives in UN Class 1 require a permit. If you are uncertain about the classification, contact the manufacturer.
- Explosives diluted to less than one percent by weight, including those used as reagents (for example, 1H-tetrazole), in training kits for sniffer dogs and in kits to test machines that detect trace levels of explosives.
- Christmas crackers containing less than two milligrams of an explosive substance.
- Life-saving devices (for example, signals, flares and parachute release devices) being transported as safety equipment in an aircraft, train, vessel or vehicle. But you need the appropriate import, export or transport in-transit permit if these devices are for installation or use in other aircraft, trains, vessels or vehicles.
Find contact information for general inquiries or urgent requests related to explosives, fireworks, ammunition or restricted components.
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