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What Not to Pack When Moving Across Canada- A Guide to Non-Transportable Items

By Quality Move Management Inc / September 21, 2022

Moving house is usually centred around the essential items we need to take with us. Doing things to plan like completing a pre-move survey is great for identifying what items will go with you when you move home, but what about non-transportable items? Reputable moving companies will have a list of items that their team of movers and packers will not load into the moving van. Whether you plan on moving to Montreal from Toronto or a short-distance local move across Canada, some household items are prohibited by Canadian law under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act 1992. At QMM, we have been moving furniture across Canada for over two decades and we know that packing the right things will save you time, effort and money. Here’s a guide to help you understand what not to pack when moving.

What Will Movers Not Pack?

It may seem obvious that flammable and explosive items sit high on this list of things prohibited from transportation, but a lot of these products are unassuming, everyday items from the kitchen and bathroom. It’s beneficial to know what things will be excluded so that you can save time packing each room. 
Here are some examples of the flammable and explosive items that should not be packed into the moving van:

Hazardous Materials

  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  •  Laundry Products
  • Car Fluids
  • Hair Dye


  • Aerosols - Deodorants, Air Fresheners
  • Batteries 
  • Fertilizers
  • Fireworks
  • Oxygen Bottles
  • Bleach
  • Propane Tanks for BBQs

Poisonous Substances

  • Poisons should not be placed in the moving van and need to be appropriately disposed of before transportation. Some examples of poisonous items include:
  • Insecticides - this includes bug spray and even head lice solutions
  • Pesticides 
  • Solvents, Cleaners and Paints
  • Weed Killer

Most of the hazardous items on these lists are easy to purchase at your new location. No matter how harmless some of them appear, movers and drivers mustn't be put at risk by transporting any of these items.

What Not to Pack In a Moving Truck

While the law prevents some things from being transported when moving across Canada, there are other things that we recommend you don't pack in a moving truck. These items aren’t considered dangerous when being transported across  Canada, but we do recommend for the sake of convenience and peace of mind, that the following household and personal items stay with you on moving day.

Perishable Food Items

As much as we all hate to waste food, you won’t be able to pack the contents of your kitchen cupboards into the moving truck when you move house. Fresh or frozen food items and food stored in jars and other glass containers should be considered perishable and not be packed onto the moving truck. This should be the case for both long-distance moves and short-distance moves because the temperatures in the back of the moving vehicle can rise quite quickly causing food items to spoil. Donating unwanted food items to places like Food Banks Canada prevents waste and helps to support families who use their services.

Moving with Plants 

Many plant owners will already know that plants can be very sensitive to change and may find moving between provinces in Canada too stressful to handle. A change in the amount of sunlight received, a new environment or fluctuations in temperature are all factors that can put a plant into shock and cause it to die, so it is recommended that they aren’t transported in the moving van. If you plan on moving locally, your small potted plants may survive a short journey if removed from breakable pots and wrapped carefully. However, if you’re planning a cross-country move or an international move, it is worth checking out the relevant regulations and prohibitions regarding travelling with plant life. For example, if you’re moving from Vancouver, restrictions are in place to reduce the unintentional human-assisted spread of the Japanese beetle. This restriction prevents plants and soil transportation from restricted areas in Vancouver. Do your research on plant restrictions before packing up and be prepared to gift your plants to another plant parent if you’re restricted from moving with your plants.

Valuable possessions

If something is considered an heirloom, a prized possession or is completely irreplaceable, we recommend it stays with you while you travel. As trusted 
household movers, we offer extra valuation protection as well as basic liability protection for valuable items, but we do recommend keeping important or sentimental items with you on moving day. Some of these important, valuable or irreplaceable items include:

  • Cash
  • Personal documents like passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, deeds, wills etc
  • Prescribed Medication 
  • Medical Records
  •  Moving Documents
  • Jewellery
  • Photo Albums 
  • Collections (coins, stamps etc)
  • Negotiable Documents (stocks, bonds, cheques, bills of exchange)
  • Family Photographs and Home Movies
  • Insurance Documents (home, car, life insurance etc)
  • Keys (house keys, safe keys, car keys and all spare keys)

Clutter or Broken Items

Decluttering before a move can help reduce stress and the costs of moving. Recycle or discard clutter and broken items before your pre-move survey to avoid them being added to the quote. Not only will this save you money and lighten your load but it also gives you a new, clutter-free start at your new home. Decide what can be given away or recycled and what needs to be disposed of long before moving day to avoid the stress of making decisions. Schedule time for holding yard sales and making charity shop donations to get rid of clutter before you move.

Trust QMM When Moving Across Canada

As a part of our premium moving experience, QMM ensures that your moving day runs smoothly and is as stress-free as possible. As well as knowing what should go into your van on moving day, we will systematically pack, load, transport and unpack your belongings at your new home. For more information about our local and international moving and storage services, contact QMM or call us to arrange a quote on 1.866.880.8681.

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