Under the auspices of the Transportation Emergency Assistance Plan (TEAP) Committee of the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association (CCPA) now the The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), an Emergency Response Contractor Task Force was formed in 1992 with the remit “to foster the establishment of a sound, dangerous goods emergency response contractor network in Canada”.

The Task Force was comprised of members from: CCPA, Transport Canada, railway carriers and emergency response contractors. Other organizations that joined the Task Force include: Canadian Fertilizer Institute, Canadian Trucking Association and CANUTEC in 1994; Association of American Railroads (Bureau of Explosives) in 1995; and, Responsible Distribution Canada and National Environmental Emergency Centre (Environment Canada) in 1996.

In 1997, the committee members redefined its goals to reflect the broad industry support for their efforts. On that basis, the Canadian Emergency Response Contractors’ Alliance (CERCA) was created.


The mandate of CERCA is “to provide and promote a sound dangerous goods emergency response contractor network in Canada”. To fulfill the mandate, the current objective is to:

  • Develop standards and verification (3-year cycle) process for emergency response contractor sites.
  • Communicate the CERCA activities to all stakeholders in land transport emergency response involving dangerous goods.
  • Promote the advantages of membership and communicate to all carriers, manufacturers, industry associations and governments.
  • CERCA identifies seven contractor regions throughout Canada: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan / Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland.

CERCA publishes a guide for verification of emergency response contractors including basic emergency response equipment requirements and training guidelines.

Importance of Verification

The cornerstone of CERCA is the verification process whereby all contractors are verified for their emergency response capability based on the contractor’s self-assessment. A Verification Team, comprised of a minimum of two people (preferably one shipper and one carrier) with emergency response experience, visits a contractor’s site to review documentation and view equipment. All members of the Verification Team are required to undergo mandatory training.

Verification is NOT an audit, approval or endorsement of a contractor. Verification only applies to the contractor’s capability. Increased or reduced capability after the verification date may occur and it is the responsibility of the contractor to inform current and potential clients of such changes.

The CERCA Operating Committee meets bi-annually to ensure its objectives are being met and to discuss important issues related to emergency response in Canada. Contractors and stakeholders across Canada are invited to join and partake in CERCA activities.