Government of Canada approves changes to improve railway track inspections

News release

December 15, 2021    Ottawa    Transport Canada

The Government of Canada is continuing to move ahead with concrete actions which improve railway track safety to better protect those living and working near Canada’s rail corridors.

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that Transport Canada has approved another phase of changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety, which focus on track inspection frequency and the use of automated track inspection technology. 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.

As a result of these latest changes, railway companies will be required to:

  • increase the frequency of railway track inspections in higher risk areas where trains travel at faster speeds while carrying a greater tonnage of freight;
  • follow new procedures governing the use of advanced automated track inspection technology; and
  • ensure inspection data clearly identifies the exact date and track mileage of any track inspection so that rail safety inspectors can effectively verify compliance with regulatory requirements.

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

Transport Canada continues to work with the railway industry to make our railway system even safer for Canadians.

Quotes

“Railway safety remains one of my top priorities. The latest changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety will improve inspection and data collection practices and improve safety for those who live and work near Canada’s railway network.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • Changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety also complement previous Transport Canada safety requirements for railway companies to take actions to reduce the risks posed when operating during periods of extreme weather.

  • Rules and regulations have the same force of law, under the Railway Safety Act, and a railway company can be subject to monetary penalties or prosecution for non-compliance to a rule.

  • 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

Contacts

Allison St-Jean
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-290-8656
Allison.St-Jean@tc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055
media@tc.gc.ca

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