Ottawa, ONT: New Canada-wide regulations to improve crossing safety

19 Dec

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced regulations to help prevent accidents and improve railway safety. The new Grade Crossings Regulations establish new safety standards for federally-regulated level crossings. Amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations will help identify and address safety risks proactively.

A grade crossing, also known as a road or level crossing, is where a railway line crosses a road at the same level. Railway companies and road authorities (provinces, municipalities, band councils, and private crossing owners) are all responsible for managing railway crossing safety in Canada. After extensive consultation with stakeholders across the country, the Government of Canada is introducing new Grade Crossings Regulations.

Ms Raitt said “The goal of the new Grade Crossings Regulations is to save lives by providing consistent grade crossing safety standards across Canada, and promoting collaboration between railways and road authorities. The Amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations will also help identify and address safety risks proactively. We continue to work together to make the Canadian railway system one of the safest in the world.”

Under the authority of the Railway Safety Act, these Regulations improve safety by helping to reduce the frequency and severity of accidents, preventing derailments and injuries and saving lives. In particular, the Regulations improve safety by:

  • Providing consistent grade crossing safety standards across Canada;
  • Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of railway companies and road authorities; and
  • Improving safety features and promoting collaboration betweenall parties.

These Regulations are results-based, meaning they contain options for bringing a consistent level of safety to each railway crossing in Canada. They will take full effect over the next seven years.

The Government of Canada is also introducing amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations. Under the changes, rail carriers will be required to report leading indicator data to Transport Canada. Leading indicators are measurable factors that can be used to proactively identify and address safety risks. This new requirement will support better planning and performance measurement, more focused audits and inspections, and targeted programs that address specific safety issues.

  • Managing safety at grade crossings requires collaboration between 1,460 municipal and provincial road authorities, 95 Aboriginal bands, 32 railway companies, and many individual private authorities. The Grade Crossings Regulations increase collaboration, require information-sharing, and clarify roles and responsibilities.
  • The Regulations improve safety at federally regulated grade crossings, including approximately 14,000 public and 9,000 private grade crossings along 42,650 kilometres of federally-regulated railway track in Canada.
  • From 2009 to 2013, collisions between vehicles and railway equipment at public and private crossings caused, on average, 26 deaths and 26 serious injuries a year.
  • The Regulations address the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) Watchlist issue that the “risk of passenger trains colliding with vehicles remains too high in busy rail corridors”.
  • Under the changes to the Transportation Information Regulations, carriers will have to provide leading indicator data in three areas: operations, equipment, and engineering.

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