Minister Raitt with the National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group on January 22, 2014
FCM's National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group met in Ottawa January 22, 2014 to discuss progress on the rail safety priorities we identified to the federal government in the wake of several rail derailments across the country, including the tragedy in Lac Megantic. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, joined the group for part of our meeting to provide an update on the federal government's actions and participated in a productive discussion on the work that needs to continue. FCM issued this statement following the meeting.
On Thursday, January 23, 2014, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issued strong recommendations to improve the safe transportation of crude oil by rail. FCM issued this statement on the TSB recommendation.
Government improves rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods
The federal government has announced a new measure requiring railways to share dangerous goods information with municipal first responders and emergency planners. FCM's statement on the announcement.
The Protective Direction issued by Transport Canada introduces the following requirements which respond directly to FCM's call for action on rail safety:
- All Canadian railway operators will be required to provide municipal emergency planners and first responders with annual information on the nature and volume of dangerous goods being transported through their communities;
- Large Canadian railway companies, such as Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP), will be required to include in their annual reports a quarterly breakdown of the nature and volume of dangerous goods shipped through Canadian communities;
- Smaller railways will be required to notify municipalities of any significant changes to the information provided in their annual reporting.
- Municipalities wishing to receive this information will need to inform Transport Canada and assign a designate to receive the information. It will be possible for municipalities to designate to regional emergency management officials if appropriate.
These measures represent important improvements in rail safety in our cities and communities. They also demonstrate how governments can and should work together in partnership to respond to emerging challenges, improve public services and save taxpayer dollars.