Minister Garneau bans lithium-ion battery shipments on passenger aircraft

OTTAWA, Ont.–The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has issued a new protective direction banning the shipment of lithium-ion batteries on passenger aircraft.

Effective April 1, 2016, the ban prohibits passenger aircraft in Canada from transporting shipments of lithium-ion batteries (packed on their own and outside of equipment). The protective direction reduces potential fire risks associated lithium-ion batteries. Should one lithium-ion battery in a shipment overheat and catch fire, it could cause a chain reaction, resulting in the other batteries igniting as well, the release said.

The new protective direction falls in line with recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and will remain in effect until new permanent rules for lithium batteries are added to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

“Getting lithium-ion battery shipments off of passenger aircraft is the right move to make. While the fire risk associated with these types of batteries is low, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The Government of Canada is committed to keeping the travelling public safe and I believe this measure, which will have no impact on the flying public, will improve public safety,” said the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

The ban does not affect lithium-ion batteries found in consumer products like cameras, cell phones, laptops, and medical equipment. Lithium-ion battery shipments will still be permitted aboard cargo aircraft, provided that the batteries meet new requirements outlined in the protective direction.

Lithium-ion batteries differ from lithium-metal batteries, which are already banned from passenger aircraft in Canada.