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. Criteria air contaminants are produced in many ways, including in the burning of fossil fuels such as in fuel-burning engines and motors. These emissions produce smog and acid rain, which have an impact on 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 about these pollutants, Environment and Climate Change 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 2013, Canada's transportation sector produced 56.0 per cent of all NOx emissions and 9.2 per cent of all PM emissions. The rail sector accounted for 6.2% and 0.4% of Canada's total NOx and PM emissions, respectively.

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. Since 2011, there have been continuous discussions with the rail industry on emissions-related issues.

The proposed regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on June 18, 2016. A 90-day consultation period beginning on this date allows stakeholders and the public to provide feedback on the proposed regulations. 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 consultations for the proposed regulations take place?

A.  The 90-day consultation period for the proposed regulations began on June 18, 2016 and will end on September 15, 2016. The feedback received during this period will be taken into account when we are finalizing the regulations.

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 within the 90-day timeframe for the current consultation period. Please direct all feedback, questions or other correspondence to:

Diane McLaughlin
Manager, Regulatory Policy
Clean Air Policy and Analysis
Transport Canada
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N5

Email: diane.mclaughlin@tc.gc.ca or locomotive-emissions-locomotives@tc.gc.ca

Note: Transport Canada will post all submissions on its Website at: www.tc.gc.ca/locomotive-emissions-locomotives

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