Minister of Transport announces new measures to improve rail safety in response to TSB recommendations on the 2019 derailment in Field, British Columbia
July 25, 2022 Ottawa Transport Canada
Transport Canada’s top priority in the rail sector is the safety of Canadians and their communities. That is why we are putting in place additional measures to protect all Canadians who live and work along rail lines and reduce the risk of serious accidents.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that the Government of Canada is taking new actions to improve rail safety, in alignment with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s recommendations regarding the derailment in Field, British Columbia, in 2019.
On July 25, a new Ministerial Order will come into effect and will require railway companies to propose revisions to rules for the Minister’s approval. The revisions to be proposed will enhance regular pre-departure inspections and periodic maintenance of air brakes on trains and address the elevated risks of operating trains in cold temperatures. In addition, the order requires rail companies to develop a winter operating plan for their equipment. That plan would specify actions to be taken when temperatures are very cold, including implementing speed restrictions and performing enhanced inspections. This will address the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s recommendation to enhance inspection and maintenance requirements for brakes on steep grades in cold weather.
The Minister of Transport also announced that, beginning in September 2022, Transport Canada will launch a working group with railway companies to consider the design and safety parameters of automatic parking brakes. Transport Canada will also conduct testing of automatic braking technology under real world operating conditions to verify safety and performance. This is in alignment with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s recommendation to install automatic parking brakes on all freight cars.
Finally, in agreement with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s third recommendation for Transport Canada, the Government of Canada will launch targeted audits of Canadian Pacific Railway by August 2022, to assess the effectiveness of their safety management systems and training regime. In parallel, the department will conduct oversight of Canadian Pacific Railway’s occupational health and safety committees. This will enable Transport Canada to monitor whether the company is effectively identifying and addressing hazards.
“Our thoughts continue to be with the families of the victims of the 2019 Field, British Columbia, derailment. Our government’s top priority is keeping our railways and workers safe; the new actions announced today directly address the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s recommendations to Transport Canada in their investigation report on the derailment. I would like to thank the Transportation Safety Board of Canada for their investigation and final report. Our government will continue to make improvements to ensure Canada remains a global leader in rail safety.’’
The Honorable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
On March 31, 2022, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada concluded its investigation of the 2019 derailment near Field, British Columbia, and issued its final report.
The new rules Transport Canada is announcing build upon additional actions taken immediately following the derailment, including:
- Issuing a Ministerial Order requiring the use of handbrakes when a train is stopped on a steep grade. The rule has since been made permanent through the Canadian Rail Operating Rules.
- Completing an occupational health and safety investigation of Canadian Pacific Railway, which led to corrective measures being implemented.
- Building on actions taken in Ministerial Order 20-10 that address risks stemming from railway operations in cold weather. The Order required railway companies to take measures to prevent uncontrolled movements due to an unintended air brake release and to improve performance standards for locomotives equipped with roll-away protection.
By August 2022, the department will launch consultations on potential amendments to the Railway Safety Management System Regulations, 2015.
In fall 2022, the department will pre-publish in Canada Gazette, Part I, proposed amendments to the Railway Employee Qualification Standards Regulations to modernize crew and supervisor training requirements.
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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