Government of Canada highlights the launch of Rail Safety Week 2020 and underlines recent efforts taken to improve rail safety in Canada

News release

September 18, 2020          Ottawa          Transport Canada

Transport Canada is joining forces with Operation Lifesaver again this year to help #STOPTrackTragedies and increase awareness about the dangers surrounding rail property and trains.

Today, Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, highlighted the launch of Rail Safety Week 2020, which runs until September 27. This national annual event increases awareness of safety around railway property and trains. It also underlines Government of Canada and industry achievements to make our railway system safer for Canadians.

Transport Canada continues to take steps to strengthen rail safety in Canada. This year, the department has taken several actions, including:

  • leading a broader rail security Task Force with participants from railway police organizations and law enforcement partners to reduce the risks to railway security, while also helping to educate and shape behaviour around the effects of tampering with Canada’s railway system;
  • working with the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association to improve the security of Canada’s railway system and infrastructure;
  • publishing Locomotive Voice and Video Recorder Regulations, which was the result of extensive research and consultations for the use of this type of technology to help investigators know the sequence of events leading up to a rail accident and taking any required corrective measures;
  • investing more than $25 million, over three years, to support 165 new projects and initiatives under the Rail Safety Improvement Program to increase safety at grade crossings and along rail lines;
  • issuing ministerial orders to strengthen regulatory requirements which will reduce the risk of train derailments by targeting speed restrictions for trains carrying dangerous goods and revising rules governing track safety.

This Rail Safety Week, the Government of Canada is reminding Canadians about some key tips to keep everyone safe around tracks, and encourages everyone to share rail safety tips online:

  • Tampering with rail lines, rail cars or signaling systems is both illegal and extremely dangerous—it could cost lives! 
  • Always expect a train at a crossing; stop, look both ways and listen. Never stop on tracks.
  • If you notice that a crossing light isn’t working or if you see something unsafe around tracks, it’s important to report it immediately.
  • Never drive around lowered gates—it's illegal and potentially deadly.
  • Respect private property. Although railway tracks may be a shortcut to your destination, trespassing on the railway’s private property is unlawful and unsafe.
  • Obey all warning signs and signals. Look for traffic signs that indicates a roadway/railway crossing. Some busier crossings also have lights and bells or gates. 

Additional multimedia


“Railway safety is my top priority. Transport Canada and railway industry employees work to make our rail transportation system safer for all and I am proud of the accomplishments this year in the fields of research and consultations, and how we are moving forward with several rail safety improvement projects. This week reminds us that we must all be vigilant of our surroundings and remember that trespassing on railway tracks is not only illegal, but could be fatal.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Transport Canada is committed to keeping Canadians safe by improving rail safety and increasing public awareness and confidence in Canada’s rail transportation system. Among many activities, the department actively monitors railway companies through audits and safety inspections to verify compliance with rules and regulations and takes action when violations occur.

  • Operation Lifesaver is a partnership initiative of the Railway Association of Canada and Transport Canada and works with the railway industry, police, unions, organizations and communities. It aims to save lives by educating Canadians about the hazards surrounding railway property and trains.

  • Canada’s railway system has approximately 23,000 railway crossings, and nearly 40,000 kilometres of track. 

  • Each year, over 100 Canadians are seriously injured or killed as a result of railway crossing or trespassing incidents.

Associated links


Livia Belcea
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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