Government of Canada improves railway freight and passenger train brake inspection and safety rules

News release

December 8, 2023              Ottawa, Ontario              Transport Canada

The Government of Canada is taking action to improve railway safety to better protect Canadians living and working near rail corridors.

Today, the Minister of Transport, Pablo Rodriguez, announced changes to the Railway Freight and Passenger Train Brake Inspection and Safety Rules that will come into force on December 1, 2025. These rules specify safety requirements for the safe operation of train brakes on all freight and passenger trains.

New changes will require railway companies to:

  • Strengthen air brake inspections by ensuring that heavy trains operating on a steep grade in cold weather undergo more robust air brake inspections;
  • Develop and submit procedures related to the inspection requirements to Transport Canada; and
  • Strengthen requirements for periodic maintenance of air brake cylinders.

These new changes are the second part of a 2022 Ministerial Order to strengthen brake performance during cold weather, particularly on steep descending grades.

Initial changes to strengthen regular air brake inspection requirements and to introduce requirements for a Train Brake Winter Operating Plan were approved in January 2023, and came into force on May 31, 2023.

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


“We’re making changes to the Railway Freight and Passenger Train Brake Inspection and Safety Rules to make trains moving in Canada safer than ever before, especially during winter. Safety is always the highest priority, and we’re committed to modernizing and to addressing any safety risks that Canada’s rail system may face.”

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • Changes to the Railway Freight and Passenger Train Brake Inspection and Safety Rules are part of a broader strategy to strengthen rail safety in Canada, and directly respond to a Transportation Safety Board recommendation following their investigation into the fatal derailment near Field, British Columbia on February 4, 2019.

  • 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


Laura Scaffidi
Press Secretary
Office of Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Page details

Date modified: