Bill of lading##col1

​​According to the Civil Code of Québec, a contract of carriage is a contract by which the carrier undertakes to carry a person or goods. This carriage is in return for a price that another person undertakes to pay. This person may be the passenger, the shipper or the receiver. The bill of lading is the term used to describe the writing that recognizes the contract of carriage for transportation of goods.

Complementing this, the Regulation respecting the requirements for bills of lading provides for minimum mandatory conditions for such a contract. For example, these conditions have the effect of limiting the carrier's liability in case of loss or damage of the goods transported, despite the fact that the carrier is subject to an obligation of result.

The texts of this page are proposed as information. For more details, refer directly to the laws and regulations.

Normative framework

The bill of lading refers directly to the concepts of contract for transportation found in the Civil Code of Québec . The Regulation respecting the requirements for bills of lading, as applicable, completes the rules governing contracts for the transport of goods. It arises from the Transport Act, which is under the Ministère's responsibility.

The Regulation aims to specify the responsibilities of the parties and the conditions of transportation during the transportation of goods.

Target clientele

  • The operator of heavy vehicles (i.e. the carrier) who undertakes to transport goods entrusted to him by the shipper.
  • The shipper who entrusts the goods to the operator.
  • The transport service intermediary, as applicable.

Take note that exemptions to section 2 of the Regulation exist.

General information

Essentially, a bill of lading must be produced for each road transport movement of goods for remuneration.

Transport for remuneration corresponds to the notion of transport for the account of others, i.e. an enterprise transports goods on behalf of a third party.

However, an enterprise that transports goods to deliver its property to its customers (e.g. a renovation centre or a furniture store) is not subject to the Regulation, even if this transport is done in consideration of payment of transport charges. This is considered as transport on one's own behalf.

When the operator undertakes to transport goods for a shipper for remuneration, he must produce the bill of lading in accordance with the Regulation. However, the shipper may produce a short form of the bill of lading in place of the operator, provided that the short form complies with the Regulation and the operator agrees.

The bill of lading must be written so as to indicate clearly the agreement between the parties. It must be signed by the shipper and the carrier. A signed copy of the bill of lading must be provided to the shipper and the carrier.

Schedule 1 of the Regulation presents a model bill of​ lading and Schedule 2 presents the minimum specifications the bill of lading must contain.

One of these conditions determines the maximum liability in case of loss or damage caused to the goods transported if no other higher or lower value is indicated on the bill of lading. This maximum value is fixed at $4.41/kg.

The operator of heavy vehicles must retain a copy of any bill of lading for two years. He must also retain any short form of the bill of lading concerning contracts for transportation to which he is a party.

Contrary to the shipping document, it is not mandatory to keep the bill of lading aboard the heavy vehicle used to transport the goods.

Minimum content required

All the items of Schedules 1 and 2 of the Regulation are minimum stipulations the bill of lading must contain.

It is up to the shipper to ensure that each of the goods covered by the bill of lading is clearly and distinctly indicated.

The bill of lading must be identified by a specific numeric code.

Legal references


Frequently asked questions

What is the most frequent violation related to a bill of lading?

The most frequent violation is undertaking to transport property entrusted by the shipper without producing a bill of lading that satisfies the conditions provided by Regulation.

Can I use the model bill of lading and add items so that it better reflects the contract between the parties?

Yes. The Regulation requires minimum content. Adding items to the bill of lading is allowed, on condition that they do not go against the laws and regulations in force. However, it is forbidden to cross out or delete the mandatory minimum stipulations provided for in the Regulation respecting the requirements for bills of lading.