Government of Canada approves changes to improve railway track safety

News release

May 31, 2021    Ottawa, Ontario        Transport Canada

The Government of Canada is taking action to improve railway track safety to better protect those living and working near Canada’s rail corridors, while also ensuring that railway tracks are in optimal condition to safely move Canadian goods to market.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety have been approved by Transport Canada. These changes are the result of a Ministerial Order that was issued in 2020 to address major risks that could cause derailments due to the condition of railway infrastructure.

The Rules Respecting Track Safety specify safety requirements that railway companies must follow when inspecting and maintaining their railway track infrastructure.

As a result of the new changes to the Rules, railway companies will be required to:

  • put in place a certification process for employees who inspect tracks and supervise the restoration of tracks to make sure their personnel have the proper knowledge and experience to carry out their safety duties;
  • establish a process to ensure that track maintenance and repair work meets regulatory requirements and the railway companies’ own standards to improve accountability; and
  • develop and implement comprehensive plans to manage rail wear and the condition of the rail surface, that are to be approved by a professional engineer to improve the integrity of railway tracks.
Transport Canada continues to work with the railway industry to make our railway system even safer for Canadians.


“These changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety will help ensure improved inspection and maintenance practices become a permanent part of safer railway operations in Canada. They demonstrate our government’s commitment to directly address the Auditor General’s recent findings, and mitigate the key risks facing Canada’s rail network.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • These changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety are part of a broader strategy to strengthen rail safety in Canada, and directly respond to findings in the Auditor General’s February 2021 follow-up audit on rail safety.

  • Specifically, these updated rules demonstrate that Transport Canada is working to modernize its rail safety oversight and to directly address key safety risks facing Canada’s rail network.

  • Under the Railway Safety Act, railway companies must comply with regulations and rules. 

  • Transport Canada monitors railway companies for compliance with rules, regulations, and standards made under the Railway Safety Act through risk-based audits and safety inspections.

Associated links


Allison St-Jean
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
(613) 290-8656

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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