Enhancing Rail Safety in Our Community

In March, many City Councillors & Mayor Tory sent a joint letter to the Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau calling for the federal government to take action to improve protection for communities living along commercial rail lines. Our letter proposed several specific actions for the Ministry and Transport Canada to undertake in order to enhance community safety. To read the full letter, please click here.

Minister Garneau has responded to our letter and outlined the current steps and direction his staff and Transport Canada are pursuing with respect to this issue. The Minister outlined the following positive measures the Federal Government is taking.

  • Speed restrictions of 40mph and 50mph on freight movements through urban areas.
  • Renewed efforts to establishing a communications framework for industry, the regulators and the public that directly engages local communities.
  • Review of the DOT-111 phase out period (currently scheduled for completion on May 1, 2017) to assess the potential to accelerate this timeline. 
  • As part of new insurance regulations which come into force on June 18, 2016, Railways will now be required to payout compensation to victims of an accident involving crude oil without needing to prove fault or negligence.
  • A new industry-financed compensation will be established to fund any claims and costs exceeding a railways insurance levels, in the event of an accident. 
  • 2016 Federal budget includes $143 million for increased inspections and first responder training and equipment. 

To read the Minister's full response, please click here.

While these measures represent a decisive start towards establishing sufficient protections for communities along rail lines, I will continue to advocate for further action on this important issue.

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