Discrepancies in state-issued CDL hazmat training programs have prompted officials with Transport Canada (the government's transportation agency) to require that foreign drivers hauling hazardous materials loads in Canada carry proof-of-training certificates in addition to a CDL with hazmat endorsement.

This revision in Canadian policy is not a change in the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations (equivalent to U.S. hazmat regulations), but a new view of a widely held assumption that hazmat training standards and documentation are the same across all jurisdictions. Canada says it's no longer confident that all states have similar HAZMAT training standards, or that all state standards meet Canadian requirements.

"Some enforcement personnel and some in the trucking industry are under the impression that the hazmat endorsement on the back of the CDL meets U.S. requirements, which are equivalent to Canadian training requirements. If they do, these are acceptable," says Transport Canada senior communications advisor, Maryse Durette. "However, since U.S. drivers' licenses are administered state-by-state, some states' endorsements meet the Canadian standards; others do not."

Drivers on both sides of the border are required to take training in the safe handling of hazardous materials offered for transport. Standards in the U.S. and Canada require the same training, described in 49 CFR PART 172 Subpart H-Training, or the Canadian equivalent. In the U.S., however, there is no requirement that the driver carry proof of training as there is in Canada. The only difference stemming from Canada's recent change in opinion is that US drivers will need to provide proof of this training.

U.S. hazmat endorsements will remain valid in the U.S., but for travel within Canada, U.S. drivers will need to carry proof that they have received training in accordance with sections 172.700 to 172.704 of 49 CFR, and that is current.

Proof of training could either meet the requirements set out in section 6.3 of Canada's TDG regulations, or they could carry a document such as the one described in 6.4 of the TDG regulations for foreign carriers (see links below), Durette told truckinginfo.com.

While the change in Canada's position on the reciprocity of hazmat training standards takes effect immediately, U.S. drivers and carriers will have six months to get their proof of training documentation in order.

"The Government of Canada has agreed to provide a six month awareness period during which drivers will be informed of the requirements but will not issue [citations]," she said. "Enforcement will begin six months from now."

The regulatory text pertaining to the proof of training can be found in Part 6 of Canada's TDG regulations. The specific requirements for US drivers can be found in section 6.4.