Government introduces new Grade Crossing Regulations
On December 18, 2014, Transport Canada published new Grade Crossing Regulations for safety management of federally-regulated grade crossings. These regulations:
- define roles and responsibilities for both municipalities and railways; and
- establish enforceable safety standards for new and existing federally-regulated grade crossings.
Consulted extensively by Transport Canada during the development of these regulations, FCM advocated the importance of ensuring timelines and technical requirements related to information sharing and improvements to existing crossings would be fair and reasonable for municipalities.
The Grade Crossing Regulations come into force immediately and apply in full to new or modified grade crossings. Municipalities and railways will have two years to share critical safety information regarding existing crossings, and seven years to ensure existing crossings meet basic safety requirements.
FCM will continue to engage Transport Canada over the coming months to ensure municipalities are provided with more detailed guidance on implementation issues including:
- information sharing;
- options for maintaining sightlines;
- obstruction of grade crossings; and
- the Canadian Transportation Agency's role in dispute resolution and cost apportionment.
Transportation Safety Board releases its final report
On August 19, 2014, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its final report of the investigation into the derailment of a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train on July 6, 2013, in Lac-Mégantic, Québec. The TSB's report includes a series of recommendations that are critical to improving rail safety in Canada and ensuring the safe transportation of dangerous goods by rail.
FCM President Brad Woodside issued the following statement regarding the announcement:
"The recommendations announced today by the Transportation Safety Board are critical to improving the safety of Canada's rail system and the movement of dangerous goods by rail through our cities and communities.
We expect the federal government to respond fully to today's report and recommendations, to ensure an event like this never happens again.
FCM and the National Municipal Working Group on Rail Safety will provide input directly to Transport Canada on the TSB's recommendations, and we look forward to continue working together to keep our railways and the communities that surround them safe."