Minister tables the Railway Safety Act
review report in the House of Commons
Published: March 7, 2008
Source: Minister of Transport
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OTTAWA, March 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Railway Safety Act (RSA) review
report, Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety, was tabled
today in the House of Commons by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon,
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Minister Cannon
launched a review of the RSA in December 2006.
The report presents the findings, including more than 50 recommendations
to improve rail safety in Canada.
"Our government is taking action to improve rail safety in Canada. The
rail industry is the backbone of our economy and part of a historic
legacy that should continue to serve Canadians into the future. The
Railway Safety Act review presents concrete ideas to improve railway
safety," said Minister Cannon.
Through its work and consultations, an independent RSA review panel
found that the framework of the Act is fundamentally sound and that
there have been positive efforts to improve rail safety in certain
areas, such as at grade crossings. However, more needs to be done.
"Our government continues to work to improve railway safety and we
appreciate the efforts of the panel to produce this report. We will be
working with the industry to reduce safety risks, increase
accountability, improve the reporting of and response to incidents and
reduce environmental impacts,"Minister Cannon said.
The report identifies key recommendations to improve rail safety that
would require legislative changes, including the following:
- Railway companies should be required to obtain a rail operating
certificate once they meet regulated baseline safety requirements,
prior to commencing or continuing operations.
- Administrative monetary penalties should be included in the RSA
as an additional compliance tool.
Railway companies should be required to file annual environmental
management plans with Transport Canada to demonstrate they operate in an
environmentally responsible manner.
The first step in implementing the recommendations has already been
taken. Minister Cannon has given a mandate to the newly created Advisory
Council on Railway Safety to address future directions in rail safety,
rule making, regulation, policy and other issues of concern.
The Minister has also tasked a joint Transport Canada-industry steering
committee to develop an action plan to address the recommendations in
the report. Transport Canada will pursue implementation of the
recommendations, including legislative amendments, as the steering
committee determines its strategies.
In February 2007, Minister Cannon appointed an independent advisory
panel to conduct a review of the RSA. Between April and August 2007, the
panel, chaired by the Honourable Doug Lewis, held public consultations
and commissioned independent research to study the operation and overall
efficiency of the Act. The RSA review panel was the Minister's primary
source of independent advice about railway safety.
To view the Railway Safety Act review report, visit
To view the terms of reference of the Advisory Council on Railway
Railway Safety Act Review
On December 14, 2006, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities announced a review of the Railway Safety Act (RSA). An
advisory panel, comprised of the Honourable Doug Lewis (chair), Mr.
Pierre-André Côté, Mr. Martin Lacombe and Mr. Gary Moser, was appointed
on February 20, 2007, to lead the review.
The RSA, which came into effect in January 1989, sets the regulatory
framework for addressing rail safety, security and some of the
environmental impacts of rail operations in Canada. The Act was last
reviewed in 1994 and amended in 1999.
The current RSA review examined the operation and overall efficiency of
the Act. In particular, the review aimed to address the efficiency and
effectiveness of the regulatory framework established under the RSA; the
provisions and operation of the Act; environmental concerns with respect
to rail transportation and accidents; interface with non-railway users;
and related railway safety issues.
The role of the advisory panel was to conduct independent study and
analysis, to undertake consultations and to prepare a report for the
Minister with recommendations on how to improve railway safety in
Beginning in April 2007, the panel held public consultations, site
visitsand bilateral meetings in cities across Canada to consult with
stakeholders.These included the public, railway companies and their
industry associations, railway employees and their unions, customers
(e.g., shippers and travellers), the provinces and territories,
municipalities, aboriginal and environmentalgroups, Transport Canada,
and other federal departments and agencies.Consultations concluded in
August 2007. The panel also commissioned independent research to
supplement its knowledge and understanding of a number of key subject
Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety, the RSA review
panel's final report, was published on March 7, 2008. The report makes
56 recommendations to strengthen the Act and improve railway safety in
www.tc.gc.ca/tcss/RSA_Review-Examen_LSF to view the report.