Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is Transport Canada developing locomotive emissions regulations?

A. In 2006, the Government of Canada announced its intent to regulate rail sector emissions. The Minister of Transport is responsible for developing and implementing new regulations under the Railway Safety Act.

These regulations will help reduce criteria air contaminant emissions from the rail sector that harm our health and the environment.

Q. What are criteria air contaminants and why is it important to reduce them?

A. People produce criteria air contaminants in many ways, including burning fossil fuels (such as in fuel-burning engines and motors). These emissions produce smog and acid rain, which impact human health and the environment. Two of the most harmful criteria air contaminants emitted from vehicle engines are nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). To learn more, please visit Environment Canada's Criteria Air Contaminants Web site.

Reducing these emissions is good for your health and quality of life.

Q. How much of Canada's criteria air contaminant emissions come from the rail sector?

A. In 2008, Canada's transportation sectors produced over 54 per cent of all NOx emissions. Rail produced about 9 per cent of the total transportation NOx emissions.

Q. Who and what are being regulated?

A. These regulations will apply to railway companies that operate under federal jurisdiction in Canada and to the equipment that these companies operate.

Q. How will emissions regulations for Canada’s rail sector be developed?

A. We will develop these emissions regulations under the Railway Safety Act. The views of stakeholders and the public are important in the development of these regulations.

A first preliminary consultation period was launched on December 1, 2010 and closed on February 14, 2011. We are now developing draft regulations and will publish them in the Canada Gazette, Part I. A second consultation period will allow stakeholders and the public to provide feedback. We will then finalize the regulations and publish them in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

Q. What is the difference between the Consultation Paper and the Issue Brief?

A. The Locomotive Emissions Regulations Consultation Paper was released as an invitation to stakeholders to share their views with Transport Canada. It broadly outlines the context for developing these regulations.

Transport Canada's Issue Brief, Rolling Towards a Cleaner Future: The Development of Canadian Locomotive Emissions Regulations, expands on more technical aspects of the regulations. It also describes:

  • Canada's rail industry;
  • past and current efforts to lower air emissions from locomotives;
  • the legal approach taken by other countries; and,
  • how regulations are developed in Canada.

It is a good resource for stakeholders who are interested in the technical issues involved in developing emission regulations for the Canadian rail sector.

Q. When will the first consultations take place?

A. The 75-day preliminary consultation period closed on February 14, 2011. Once draft regulations have been published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, a 90-day formal consultation period will begin.

Q. Who can participate?

A. All Canadian citizens and other stakeholders are invited to submit their views.

Q. How can I participate?

A. Simply submit your views and comments in writing to Transport Canada during the upcoming formal consultation period. In the interim, please direct all questions or other correspondence to:

Note: Transport Canada will post all submissions on its Web site at:

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