Government of Canada launches a new initiative to address climate change impacts on rail lines
November 24, 2022 Transport Canada
A resilient rail transportation system is critical to strong supply chains and keeping those who live along rail lines safe. Recent events like the 2021 wildfires and floods have shown the impacts climate change and extreme weather events can have on communities and our transportation networks. We must continue to adapt and prepare for these impacts. This is why the Government of Canada is taking important steps towards addressing climate change on railway infrastructure.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced the launch of the first call for proposals for the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative under Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program.
The Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative will provide up to $10.5 million in funding this year. This initiative specifically targets rail infrastructure projects meant to increase resilience to extreme weather events and advance measures to address climate change measures. It will also support rehabilitation projects that repair damage from significant weather events.
Transport Canada will be accepting applications for the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative through an open, competitive call for proposals from now until January 6, 2023.
Further, earlier today, Environment and Climate Change Canada launched Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy: Building Resilient Communities and a Strong Economy for engagement. This strategy includes $1.6 billion in new federal funding commitments to help protect communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
“We must take immediate action to protect our planet from climate change. Our Government will continue to invest in measures which address the impacts of climate change. This is why we are providing funding under the Climate Change and Adaptation to Extreme Weather Infrastructure initiative: to address severe weather impacts on railway operations.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
Canada’s railway system has approximately 23,000 railway crossings, and over 40,000 kilometres of track.
Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program plays an important role in addressing safety needs due to ongoing and emerging safety concerns across Canada. Funded projects have contributed to an overall reduction of risk and increased safety for Canadians.
The Rail Safety Improvement Program has an annual budget of $21.3 million in support of rail safety infrastructure, technology and research, and education and awareness projects across Canada.
Since the program’s inception, 774 projects have been funded across Canada which contribute to increasing safety at grade crossings and along rail lines, and to increase public confidence in Canada’s rail transportation system.
On July 5, 2022, the Minister of Transport also announced the Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program, which will provide up to $2.2 million in contribution funding to Canadian railways to cost-share research. Its objective is to support research, development, and implementation of innovative technologies, tools, and approaches to better understand and address the increasing risks and impacts of climate change on Canada’s rail sector.
The Supply Chain Task Force recognized climate change as a driver of instability in transportation supply chains. For example:
- Wildfires in July 2021 reduced railway operations by 30%, representing around $163 million per day in terms of blocked shipment value.
- Flooding in November 2021 hindered the movement of goods estimated to be more than $170 million per day due to lost train capacity and increased congestion at the Port of Vancouver.
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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