Rail Safety Policy Regarding the Publication of Corporate Offences and S.31 Notices and Orders Pursuant to the Railway Safety Act

December 30, 2009

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Table of Contents

  1. Background 
  2. Objective
  3. Scope
  4. Corporate Offences
  5. Notices and Orders
  6. Responsibilities
  7. Inquiries

1. Background

In August 2006, as part of its Federal Accountability Action Plan commitments, the Treasury Board of Canada amended the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.  Under this policy, the Government is required to provide the public with open access to information about policies, programs, services and initiatives.

In March 2008, the Railway Safety Act Review Advisory Panel published its report, Stronger Ties:  A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety, which made 56 recommendations to improve rail safety in Canada.  One of these recommendations stated that the Government should publish information on railway safety enforcement actions, as is done in other transportation modes.

Transport Canada Rail Safety has therefore developed a policy regarding the publication of corporate offences, which will support and reinforce Rail Safety’s enforcement and monitoring activities, including its inspection and audit work.  The policy will encourage accountability and will increase public confidence that the department is taking enforcement action, as appropriate, as well as other safety action to protect public safety.

2. Objective

The objective of this policy is to inform the public of enforcement actions taken by Transport Canada Rail Safety in response to contraventions of provisions of the Railway Safety Act (RSA) by corporate bodies, as well as other safety actions taken to mitigate immediate threats to safety.

3. Scope

Transport Canada Rail Safety will publish names of corporate offenders on its Internet site, along with a summary of the contravention of the RSA and the resulting enforcement actions.

The policy will also include the identification of safety action taken in response to immediate threats to safety.  Relevant extracts of Notices and Orders issued under section 31 of the RSA will be posted, once the 30-day filing period for review by the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (TATC) is complete.

The policy will not result in the release of information outside the scope of the Privacy Act.

The information will be updated regularly.

4. Corporate Offences

Corporate offences will be listed in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Upon a court decision; and
  • Upon a decision of the TATC, after all appeal rights have been exhausted.

In addition to the publication of corporate offences, media releases may be issued.  Media releases and the Corporate Offences website will provide the following information:

  • Name of the corporate body;
  • Nature of contravention (e.g., violation of Rule 115 of the Canadian  Rail Operating Rules; violation of provisions of the Railway Safety Act, etc.);
  • Number of counts;
  • Fine imposed;
  • Location of the contravention; and
  • A brief summary.

5. Notices and Orders

Relevant extracts of Notices and Orders issued under section 31 of the RSA since January 2009, including the immediate threat and the order, will be posted on Rail Safety’s Internet site.

Notice of revocations of these Notices and Orders will also be posted, as they are issued.

6. Responsibilities

The Regulatory Affairs Branch is responsible for this policy and related information.

The department’s Communications and Marketing Group is responsible for any media releases.

7. Inquiries

Inquiries regarding this policy may be addressed to Regulatory Affairs, Rail Safety Directorate.


Susan Archer
Director, Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 613-990-8690
Suzanne Madaire-Poisson
Chief, Policy and Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 613-949-3817

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