Canada Moves To Tighten Dangerous Goods Rail Safety

Legislation to tighten the regulatory environment for the transportation of dangerous goods by rail has been introduced to Canada’s House of Commons.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Lisa Raitt, introduced Bill C-52, the Safe and Accountable Rail Act, late last week. The new bill proposes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act and Railway Safety Act.

Changes include a new liability and compensation regime for federally regulated railways, including minimum insurance requirements, a compensation fund financed by levies on crude oil shippers, increased information-sharing provisions and stronger oversight powers for the minister and Transport Canada inspectors.

"The government of Canada continues to make the safety and security of Canadians a top priority," Raitt said in a statement. "This new legislation will improve railway safety and strengthen oversight while protecting taxpayers and making industry more accountable to communities."

The issue of dangerous goods transportation safety has risen to a place of prominence in Canada since the Lac-Mégantic disaster in 2013 claimed the lives of 47 people, and exacerbated by the dramatically increasing volumes of crude oil transported across the country by rail.