Minister of Transport announces projects to further reduce the impacts of climate change on the rail sector
March 2, 2023 Transport Canada
A safe, resilient rail transportation system is critical to strong supply chains and keeping those who live and work along rail lines safe. In 2021, extreme weather events like floods and fires impacted our rail industry. We must continue to adapt and prepare for these impacts. This is why the Government of Canada is taking action to increase the resilience of Canada’s rail infrastructure while strengthening its supply chains and building an economy that works for everyone.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced up to $5.4 million for 20 projects across Canada under the Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program, an initiative of the Rail Safety Improvement Program.
The Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program supports research, development, and implementation of innovative technologies, tools, and approaches to better identify and reduce the increasing risks and impacts of climate change on Canada’s rail sector.
The various recipients selected to receive funding will evaluate new designs and technologies, implement innovative technologies, and develop a better understanding of the risks and impacts of climate change on railways to address adaptation challenges such as:
- permafrost degradation; and
- more extreme operational temperatures.
Canada maintains one of the safest rail transportation systems in the world through shared efforts by partners, including governments, railway companies and communities. This funding will help address the impacts of climate change on our rail sector while creating good jobs for middle-class Canadians.
“Rail is one of the most efficient modes of transporting goods in Canada. To further reduce disruption, keep our supply chains even stronger, and ensure Canadians receive affordable goods on time, we must continue to work to reduce the growing risks and impacts of climate change on Canada's rail sector. This is why I am pleased to announce funding for 20 projects that will address supply chain and climate change challenges.”
The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
"We’re building a more climate resilient country, and investing in measures such as the Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program demonstrates the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment – underpinned by our work on Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy. This rail safety program will help prepare for the effects of climate change and ensure the safety and wellbeing of our families, communities and the environment well into the future, which is the whole point of adaptation."
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
Canada’s railway system has approximately 26,000 railway crossings, and over 41,000 kilometres of track.
The Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program aims to enhance the resilience of Canada’s critical rail infrastructure and supply chains against climate change impacts. The program provides contribution funding to encourage Canadian railways to undertake proactive research to identify emerging climate change risks, and to develop effective mitigations/solutions.
Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program plays an important role in addressing safety needs due to ongoing and emerging safety concerns across Canada.
Since the program’s inception, about 800 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.
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.
As part of the Government of Canada Adaptation Action Plan, the Rail Climate Change Adaptation Program supports the goals and objectives of Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy, released for final comment in November 2022.
Press Secretary and Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transport
Transport Canada, Ottawa
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