Measures to enhance railway safety and the safe transportation of dangerous goods

Transport Canada has taken several targeted measures to strengthen the safety of the railway and transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) systems in Canada. These measures include:

  • July 23, 2013: Issued an Emergency Directive that required securing unattended locomotives and established the number of crew members required for operating a locomotive carrying dangerous goods;
  • October 17, 2013: Issued Protective Direction No. 31 under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act requiring any person who imports or offers for transport crude oil to retest, or classify, their crude oil prior to shipment, and, in the interim, ship it at the highest packing group level (PG1) until testing is completed;
  • November 2013: Engaged technical and industry experts to make recommendations regarding emergency response, means of containment, and classification;
  • November 20, 2013: Issued Protective Direction No. 32 under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act requiring railway companies to share information with municipalities to support emergency planners and first responders;
  • December 26, 2013: Approved updated Canadian Rail Operating Rules that encompass more stringent operational safety requirements for railway companies;
  • January 11, 2014: Published proposed regulatory changes in Canada Gazette, Part I, to adopt new standards for DOT-111 tank cars, including thicker steel requirements and top fitting and head shield protection;
  • March 21, 2014: Completed stakeholder consultations regarding a comprehensive review of the liability and compensation regime for rail and developed policy options for consideration;
  • April 23, 2014: Issued an Emergency Directive requiring railway companies to immediately implement key operating practices, including reducing the speed of trains transporting dangerous goods;
  • June 27, 2014: Collaborated with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group to discuss railway and TDG safety-related concerns such as improving risk assessments, emergency planning and response capability, and increasing insurance requirements for railways and shippers;
  • July 2, 2014: Published amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act in Canada Gazette, Part II, that update the DOT-111 tank car standard.
  • July 10, 2014: Inaugural meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force announced on April 23.
  • July 18, 2014: Launched consultations on the future standard for tank cars. These consultations are part of the regulatory development process, and mark the next step in Transport Canada's ongoing actions to strengthen the transportation of dangerous goods by rail.
  • August 1, 2014: Launched a second stage of consultations to strengthen the liability and compensation regime and ensure railways and shippers are held accountable in the event of an incident.
  • August 14, 2014: Second meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • August 19, 2014: The TSB released its final report including two recommendations regarding: (1) ensuring safeguards are in place to secure unattended train cars and prevent runaways, and (2) ensuring Safety Management System (SMS) audits are conducted frequently/in-depth and that proper follow-up is performed.  In addition to these recommendations, the TSB issued two Safety Advisory Letters to Transport Canada on (1) verifying that dangerous goods being transported are properly tested and classified, and (2) ensuring employees at railways, particularly short lines, are properly safety trained;
  • September 11, 2014: Third meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • October 9, 2014: Fourth meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • October 10, 2014: Government Response to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Interim Report is tabled in the House of Commons;
  • October 29, 2014: Responded to the TSB final report and announced a suite of actions;
  • October 29, 2014: Issued an Emergency Directive under the Railway Safety Act establishing a standardized minimum for hand break applications and specific testing requirements, and additional physical defences for unattended trains;
  • October 29, 2014: Issued a Ministerial Order under the Railway Safety Act requiring railway companies to develop and enhance rules on train securement;
  • October 29, 2014: Issued a Ministerial Order under the Railway Safety Act, requiring certain railways (including short lines) to submit training plans to TC for review.  Additionally, TC has committed to conduct an audit blitz of short lines with respect to qualification standards of operating crews to determine specific training gaps and any other issues that arises;
  • October 29, 2014: Amended the SMS audit cycle to a three-to-five year cycle and will recruit additional specialized auditors to provide guidance to inspectors on conducting audits and on the elements of an effective SMS;
  • November 20, 2014: Fifth meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • December 4, 2014: Initiated crude oil sampling as part of a research project to assess properties, behaviour and hazards of crude oil transported in Canada through sampling, testing and analysis of a variety of crude oils from different regions;
  • December 9, 2014: Presented First Quarterly Report and Recommendations of the Emergency Response Task Force to the Director General, Transportation of Dangerous Goods;
  • December 11, 2014: Sixth meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • December 17, 2014: Published the Grade Crossings Regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II, which will establish new safety standards for federally regulated grade crossings and immediately come into force.
  • December 18, 2014: The Minister met with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to talk about the importance of harmonizing rail tank car standards.
  • December 31, 2014: Published amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. The updates include a ban on transporting lithium metal batteries as cargo on passenger flights in Canada, new labelling and Emergency Response Assistance Plan requirements for certain dangerous goods as well as incorporating Protective Direction 33 into the regulations.
  • January 1, 2015: The coming into force of the Railway Operating Certificate Regulations, which require railway companies to hold a valid Railway Operating Certificate in order to operate on federally-regulated railways in Canada.
  • January 15, 2015: Seventh meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • February 19, 2015: Eighth meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • February 20, 2015: Minister introduced the Safe and Accountable Rail Act that will enhance railway safety and make the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable to Canadians.
  • March 19, 2015: Ninth meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • April 1, 2015: The coming into force of the:
  • April 16, 2015: Tenth meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force is held;
  • April 23, 2015: Issued emergency directive to slow trains transporting dangerous goods.
  • April 30, 2015: Announced joint safety study with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada on locomotive voice and video recorders to improve rail safety.
  • May 1, 2015: Announced the TC-117 tank car standard, the next generation of stronger, safer rail tank cars.
  • May 20, 2015: Presented Second Quarterly Report and Recommendations of the Emergency Response Task Force to the Director General, Transportation of Dangerous Goods.
  • May 20, 2015: Published amendments to the Transport of Dangerous Goods Regulations entitled: Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TC 117 Tank Cars) in the Canada Gazette, Part II.
  • May 25, 2015: Kick-off meeting to the joint Transportation Safety Board and Transport Canada Safety Study on Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders.
  • June 6, 2015: Published proposed amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations to help improve emergency response and risk analysis through stronger, more comprehensive data collection.
  • June 17, 2015: Regulations amending the Railway Safety Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (Railway Safety Management System Regulations, 2015 and legislative requirements under the Railway Safety Act) were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on June 17, 2015 and came into force upon registration.
  • June 19, 2015: The coming into force of the Safe and Accountable Rail Act.
  • August 17, 2015: Extended the Emergency Directive under the Railway Safety Act, renewing requirements for railway companies to implement key operating practices, including reducing the speed of trains transporting dangerous goods;
  • August 17, 2015: Issued a new Ministerial Order under the Railway Safety Act renewing requirements for all railway companies and local railway companies to formulate rules and, as the case may be, revise rules respecting the transportation of dangerous goods.
  • October 14, 2015: Rule 112 of the Canadian Railway Operating Rules came into force.
  • December 3, 2015: Posted an abstract of research into crude oil sampling and analysis on Transport Canada's website.
  • February 19, 2016: Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes came into force.
  • March 12-13, 2016: Transport Canada and Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) conduct Exercise Vulcan to improve Canada's response capabilities in the event of an incident involving a train carrying flammable liquids, such as crude oil.
  • March 17, 2016: Final meeting of the Emergency Response Task Force (ERTF). The ERTF final report is expected in 2016.
  • March 17, 2016: An online training tool for first responders, Emergency Preparedness for Rail Incidents Involving Flammable Liquids in Canada is developed and released by Enform, and funded in Part by Transport Canada and other stakeholders. Input to develop the tool was provided by Transport Canada's Emergency Response Task Force.
  • March 31. 2016: Publication of Key Competencies on flammable liquids for first responders to assist local jurisdiction in developing training curriculum for firefighters'
  • April 20, 2016: Regulations Amending the Railway Safety Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (Grade Crossings Regulations) are published in Canada Gazette, Part II and come into force upon registration.
  • April 28, 2016: Issued Protective Direction No. 36, replacing the existing Protective Direction No. 32, under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Protective Direction 36 requires railways to provide municipalities and first responders with even more dangerous goods information to improve emergency planning, risk assessments, and help train first responders. It also requires operators to provide jurisdictions with information that can be shared directly with the Canadian public.
  • April 28, 2016: Transport Canada releases the 2016 Emergency Response Guidebook, which guides first responders in identifying the specific or generic hazards posed by certain substances in an incident.
  • April 28, 2016: Transport Canada announces that additional information about railway crossings across Canada will be shared with municipalities through Canada's new Open Government Portal.
  • May 21, 2016: The Prevention and Control of Fires on Line Works Regulations is published in in Canada Gazette, Part I.
  • June 1, 2016: Several amendments are made to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations to improve reporting requirements in order to enhance public safety and improve local emergency response.
  • June 6, 2016: Issued Protective Direction No. 37, under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, which requires top-fitting protection when TC/DOT-111 tank cars are retrofitted according to the retrofit schedule introduced in May 2015 regarding the TC-117 tank car standard.  These requirements will enhance the safety of the transport of flammable liquids including crude oil and ethanol in Canada, and will further align Canadian requirements with those for retrofitted TC/DOT-111 tank cars in the U.S.
  • June 18, 2016: Federally regulated railways will be required to carry a mandatory minimum level of insurance, based on the type and volume of dangerous goods they carry, ranging from $25 million to $1 billion.
  • July 25, 2016: Issued Protective Direction 38, which accelerates the phasing out of DOT-111 tank cars for crude oil service to November 1, 2016. The accelerated timeline will phase out unjacketed legacy DOT-111 tank cars six months early and legacy jacketed DOT-111 cars 16 months early.

Transport Canada continues to work closely with U.S. railway and TDG counterparts (e.g., U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) to identify and coordinate further safety improvements in support of the integrated North American railway system.

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