National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group
The National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group provides strategic input to ensure that FCM's work in this area reflects shared national concerns and perspectives, and provide a mechanism for coordination among members at the national level.
The National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group reports to FCM's National Board of Directors through the Standing Committee on Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation Policy.
- Co-chair–Mayor Jacques Demers, President, Fédération québécoise des municipalités
- Co-chair–Councillor Randy Goulden, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation Policy
- Mayor Vicki-May Hamm, Town of Magog, QC
- Ray Orb, Chair, Rural Forum
- Councillor Mary Fragedakis, City of Toronto, ON
- Mayor Cyrille Simard, City of Edmundston, NB
- Jenny Gerbasi, FCM President
Call for action
In August 2013, FCM's National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group called for action on the following priorities to address rail safety issues:
1. Equip and support municipal first responders to rail emergencies:
- Municipalities need to know what dangerous goods are being transported through their communities so local services can plan and respond effectively to emergencies.
- Railways and federal agencies cannot plan for emergencies alone. Local governments and authorities must be involved as partners in emergency planning.
2. Ensure federal and industry policies and regulations address the rail safety concerns of municipalities:
- At the local level, rail incidents can have significant impacts on public
- safety, the economy and the environment.
- Municipal concerns must be included in federal government risk assessment and policy development on rail safety.
3. Prevent downloading of rail safety and emergency response costs to municipal taxpayers:
- Third-party liability insurance systems must be strengthened to prevent the downloading of liability costs on municipal taxpayers, even in the event of bankruptcies.
Since the Working Group's call for action in August 2013, the Government of Canada has responded to a number of FCM's rail safety concerns.
- In November 2013, Transport Canada issued Protective Directive No. 32 (PD32), an emergency directive that requires railways to provide local first responders with dangerous goods information for the purposes of emergency planning. FCM worked closely with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs and Transport Canada during the development of PD32 and was supportive of the final version of the directive.
- In April 2014, Transport Canada issued Protective Directive No. 34 (PD34), which FCM supported. PD34 required all railway companies to immediately phase out approximately 5,000 DOT-111 tank cars that had no continuous reinforcement of their bottom shell for carrying flammable liquids.
- In April 2014, Transport Canada responded favourably to FCM's request by expanding Transport Canada's Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAP) requirements to shipments of several flammable liquids.
- In April 2014, Transport Canada an Emergency Response Task Force (ERTF), whose membership includes FCM staff, to strengthen nationwide emergency response planning and training.
- In February 2015, the Government of Canada announced new legislation to improve rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods in Canada. Key elements of Bill C-52 respond directly to concerns raised by the National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group related to insurance and liability, information sharing and Transport Canada's oversight of federal railways.
- In April 2016, the Transport Minister announced improvements to information sharing for the purposes of emergency planning. The new Protective Direction 36, which replaces the expiring PD 32, reflects requests made by FCM on behalf of its members.
We continue to work closely with Transport Canada to improve the safety of rail transport in Canada.