FAQ

If you require further information, or have other questions, contact us at info@erac.org or 587-349-5880.

 

What is Emergency Response Assistance Canada (ERAC)?

Emergency Response Assistance Canada (ERAC) is a not-for-profit corporation created by industry for industry and is a subsidiary of the Canadian Propane Association (CPA). As a co-operative emergency preparedness and response organization, we are instrumental in assisting hundreds of oil & gas and transportation organizations requiring emergency response plans (ERPs), including Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs) and Environmental Emergency (E2) plans.

We design ERPs, manage the documentation and, most of all, implement those plans whenever and wherever needed. Using the highly trained and skilled responders, and industry best practices and equipment, we are prepared for any flammable gas or LPG incident by road or rail. We also provide emergency response from coast to coast, and offshore in Canadian territorial waters, for flammable gases and stationary tanks.

ERAC is ready to assist its Plan Participant members by keeping their company, community and clients safe.

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What does ERAC do?

ERAC provides comprehensive emergency response and preparedness services to organizations requiring an: 

  • Emergency response plan (ERP)
  • Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
  • Environmental Emergency (E2) plan under the Regulations set out by Environment and Climate Change Canada

Plan Participants have access to our network of experienced, ERAC trained and certified remedial measures advisors (RMAs), technical advisors (TAs), response teams and home base coordinators (HBCs), easily activated through our 24/7 emergency call centre (ECC).

ERAC responds across Canada to all rail, road and stationary tank incidents involving flammable liquids and LPG.

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How is ERAC funded?

Our Plan Participants pay fees based on annual LPG volumes transported by road and rail, and the annual volume of flammable liquids transported by rail, and number of provinces covered by their ERAPs.

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How is ERAC governed?

The Canadian Propane Association (CPA) is the sole shareholder of ERAC. Each organization has a set of bylaws and a Memorandum of Understanding is in place to ensure both organizations are governed appropriately. ERAC is governed by a 16-member Board of Directors, made up of retailers, wholesalers, producers and transporters; the President of ERAC reports to the Board of Directors.

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How is ERAC managed and operated?

ERAC’s Operations Manager chairs the Operations Committee. This committee supports the development of policy, procedures and other operations to ensure we provide the best service possible to our Plan Participants. Members of the committees come from the transportation, contract emergency response, industrial emergency response, and oil and gas industries. The members are considered technical experts in flammable gases and liquids, emergency preparedness and response, container damage assessment and industrial firefighting.

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What opportunities are there for working with other industry standards and professional associations?

ERAC welcomes the opportunity to build common standards and work with other organizations to ensure leading practices are applied to preparedness and emergency response.

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What are ERAC’s responsibilities?

ERAC is responsible to act on behalf of the Plan Participant member to develop, update and respond to the requirements of the Plan Participant ERP, ERAP or E2 plan.

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Who are ERAC Plan Participant members?

ERAC Plan Participant members include small to large oil and gas producers, retailers, wholesalers and carriers, including by rail and road, of flammable gases and liquids. ERAC provides ERP preparedness and response services to more than 370 Plan Participants.

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What is an ERAP?

An Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP) is a formal plan that describes what industry will do to support first responders in the event of an accident involving their dangerous goods that require special expertise and response equipment.

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As a Plan Participant member, how do I access my ERAP?

Your ERAP can be accessed through the CloudStation link that is provided to you by ERAC. If a copy of your most recent ERAP is not available through the CloudStation, please contact Cheryl Dahlager, Process Services Manager, at 403-543-6092.

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Who needs an ERAP under the Transport Canada TDG Regulations?

Under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, no person shall import, offer for transport, handle or transport dangerous goods in a quantity or concentration that is specified by regulation — or that is within a range of quantities or concentrations that is specified by regulation — unless the person has an emergency response assistance plan that is approved under this section before

(a) importing the dangerous goods;

(b) offering the dangerous goods for transport; or

(c) handling or transporting the dangerous goods, in the case where no other person is required to have an emergency response assistance plan under paragraph (a) or (b) in respect of that handling or transporting

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How often does an ERAC Plan Participant member have to update their ERAP application?

As of January 2013, all ERAPs have an expiry date. The approval period will range from five to seven years for final approvals and one to three years for interim approvals. The length of the approval period depends on the risk linked to the plan. The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, no longer supports the issuance of indefinite approvals.

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What are the expectations of Plan Participant members beyond the financial commitment? Is there an expectation to provide equipment, teams or other expertise?

  • Plan Participants are responsible for having their own internal emergency response management system. This internal system is what links your organization to the ERAC ERAP implementation. You must provide authorized individuals that can be reached on-call 24/7/365 in the event of an incident involving your product. When an ERAP is implemented, we will confirm with our Plan Participant authorized individual prior to sending resources to an incident.
  • Plan Participants pay a fee to ERAC, which covers the new ERAP for flammable liquids. These fees are based on operational costs and response team retainer costs.
  • There is no expectation of Plan Participants to provide ERAC response teams, remedial measures advisors, technical advisors or equipment. However, organizations who do offer to provide resources in exchange for retainer are always welcomed and will be reviewed.
  • Plan Participants will be asked to sign a Dangerous Goods Preparedness and Response Participation Agreement and complete sections of the ERAP to provide details of their product volumes and transportation routes.
  • Plan Participants must be able to provide BOLs, MSDS and product description information to the home base coordinator (HBC).

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Will new Plan Participant members be expected to join the Canadian Propane Association (CPA)?

Yes, the bylaws of ERAC require all Plan Participant members to be either full or associate members of the CPA.

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What are the advantages of an ERAC membership over developing a company-specific ERAP to submit to Transport Canada?

  • ERAC draws on the expertise and resources necessary to develop, implement and evaluate a full preparedness and response service, available anywhere in Canada 24/7/365. This is outside of the capacity for many individual organizations.
  • Operating a full-scale preparedness and response program, covering a large geographic area, is cost prohibitive for many organizations.
  • ERAC, which specializes in emergency preparedness and response, ensures all member organizations have an approved ERAP.
  • ERAC prepared ERAPs ensure access to required resources.
  • Separate ERAPs require contracts with each emergency response contractor, which could result in a shortage of, or competition for, required resources, driving costs up unnecessarily.
  • Access to transfer, flaring, fire fighting and incident stabilization equipment owned by ERAC.

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What about liability protection?

Transport Canada provides responder liability protection as per section 20 of the TDG act. Therefore, if the Plan holder does not activate the response teams identified in the approved ERAP, Transport Canada liability protection will not be afforded to the responders.

In the event your ERAP is implemented, ERAC provides the ERAP Plan holder with general liability protection as outlined in section 5 of the ERAC Dangerous Goods Preparedness and Response Participation AgreementPlan Participation Agreement. General Liability is in place to respond and protect the insured in the event of a bodily injury (including death) and/or property damage. It will respond both for defense costs and/or settlement/judgment.

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What are my risks as a Plan Participant member?

Although there is a cost associated with impleneting an ERAP, Plan Participants are strongly encouraged to consider the risks of not implementing the ERAP or using their own resources which may not be identified in your ERAP. This should be compared to using the trained and competent resources made available all across Canada that are provided through ERAC Plan Participant fees.

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What are my responsibilities as a Plan Participant member?

The consignor is responsible for classification of dangerous goods. They must provide the carrier with a copy of the dangerous goods shipping document (paper or electronic), as well as ensuring appropriate placards (safety marks) are available for use by the carrier. The ERAP number and emergency call centre (ECC) number required for implementing the plan must be on all shipping documents.

It is the responsibility of the Plan Participant member to approve an implementation of the ERAP and associated response actions identified in the plan. Plan Participant members must communicate emergency contact information changes to the ERAP to ERAC for implementation and distribution to the response system.

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What is the role of the home base coordinator (HBC)?

  • Fulfills the requests for technical advice by telephone for the product, container and response process associated with this plan;
  • Notifies Transport Canada (through CANUTEC) that the emergency response operations have been implemented;
  • Monitors the response to an emergency;
  • Notifies and maintains communication with the Plan Participant as to initial response required and as scope of incident escalates; and,
  • Maintains a log of activities and supports the on-scene ERAC personnel, response team leader, technical advisor and/or remedial measures advisor.

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What is the role of the remedial measures advisor (RMA)?

  • Fulfills the requests for technical advice at the incident scene for the product, container, and response process associated with this plan, for rail, road and stationary tanks;
  • Provides direction and assistance for means of containment damage assessment;
  • Manages ERAC operations at an incident scene by fulfilling a leading role in the operations section of the Incident Command System (ICS) process. The position will depend on the size of the event and the complexity of the ICS structure. 
  • Documents information in the ERAP Incident and Implementation Form;
  • Attends the scene of an emergency when activated by a home base coordinator (HBC);
  • When arriving on site, checks in with the Incident Commander (IC);
  • Provides periodic progress reports to the Emergency Call Centre (ECC) through the Emergency Call Centre Operator (ECCO) to the HBC for distribution to the Plan Participant and other ERAC stakeholders; and,
  • Obtains release from the HBC, IC and Plan Participant (if on scene) prior to leaving scene.

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What is the role of the Technical Advisor (TA)?

  • Generally full-time employees of ERAC with significant emergency response and industrial firefighting experience;
  • Reporting to the Operations Manager, TAs rotate through an on-call schedule and provide telephone support and advice to keep communication flowing during incident activation;
  • May attend large-scale incidents to provide additional support;
  • Will support the Emergency Call Centre (ECC) and act as a liaison for the Plan Participant and the response team on the scene;
  • Can provide first responders with technical support regarding the product and methods proven effective in containing and fighting fire;
  • Help develop, implement and evaluate ERAC training, and support quality management and safety management systems; and
  • Manage regional training and assessment events held across Canada.

If you require further information, or have other questions, contact us at info@erac.org or 587-349-5880.

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