Canada Adopts ICAO Standard on Lithium Batteries

Six months after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced its intent to ban the transport of lithium-metal batteries as cargo on passenger flights, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, announced a suite of amendments to Canada’s Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR). The updates include a ban on transporting lithium-metal batteries as cargo on passenger flights in Canada, effective January 1, 2015.

Most Canadian carriers have already voluntarily banned the carrying of these batteries as a safety precaution. The United States has banned the carrying of lithium batteries as cargo on passenger planes since 2004, and it was in July 2014 that ICAO finally adopted a worldwide standard on the issue.

This action supports ALPA’s ongoing effort to strengthen ICAO provisions for the carriage of lithium batteries as cargo by cargo airlines. By instituting the ban in accordance with ICAO standards, Canada and others in industry and government have recognized the risks associated with carrying lithium batteries as cargo. The logical next step for ICAO, Canada, and the United States is the development of special packaging and carriage limitations for all-cargo aircraft as well.

The ban applies to carrying lithium batteries as cargo only. Passengers and flight crews will still be able to bring personal devices that use lithium-ion batteries onboard.

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