Transporting hazardous waste

There are strict regulations and standards that outline how hazardous wastes are to be transported in B.C.

It’s required by law, federally and provincially, to document the transportation of hazardous waste.

Hazardous wastes are waste materials, which because of their toxic or reactive nature, must be handled or disposed of properly to prevent harming people or the environment.

Hazardous wastes are defined in Section 1 of the Hazardous Waste Regulation and include ‘dangerous goods’ that are no longer used for their original purpose. Some hazardous waste is not dangerous.

Examples of hazardous waste include:

  • Waste batteries
  • Waste oil
  • Leachable toxic waste
  • Waste asbestos from buildings
  • Waste solvents

Each province ensures that proper transportation of dangerous goods and hazardous waste happens by requiring documentation to be completed and carried with the shipment at all times and copies then returned to the applicable provincial governments.

The transportation of hazardous waste is governed by other laws as well, including:

Transport licence

Except where there's an exemption, anyone transporting hazardous waste in excess of a certain amount in B.C. requires a valid licence to transport issued by the B.C. government. Licences to transport are usually valid for one year from the date of issuance.

The prescribed amount is given in the table below:

Hazardous Waste Amount
Solids 5 kg
Liquids, other than waste oil 5 litres
Compressed Gases (container capacity) 5 litres
Waste Oil 210 litres
Waste Paint 210 litres
Waste Batteries 1,000 kg
Liquid or solid containing PCBs Any quantity that contains greater than 500 g of PCB

Inter-provincial and international carriers are also required to hold a valid licence to transport hazardous waste, even if they're only crossing British Columbia to another province or the United States or to other countries.

Carriers must meet all applicable requirements under the Hazardous Waste Regulation, including the use of a manifest shipping document.

Exemptions given by federal agencies, such as Environment Canada or Transport Canada, do not apply unless a written exemption is issued to a carrier or the regulated party by the province of B.C.

Learn more about the hazardous waste transport licence application process.

A manifest is required in addition to the transport license when transporting hazardous waste greater than the above amounts.

Shipping documents

For the transportation of hazardous waste, it’s mandatory that the shipper of the waste complete a manifest.

For hazardous wastes generated in B.C., the manifest form must be one issued by the province with B.C.’s unique manifest identifier number.

The manifest form tracks the movement of hazardous waste within, into or out of B.C.

It documents:

  • The type and amounts of waste
  • Who shipped it (the consignor)
  • Who transported it (the carrier)
  • Who received it (the consignee)
  • How it was handled

Review the guidance on using and completing manifests.