Apply for a Railway Operating Certificate

Railway Operating Certificates

A Railway Operating Certificate is an official document issued by Transport Canada that authorizes a federal railway company or a local railway company to operate in Canada. A Railway Operating Certificate is required to operate a railway under the Railway Safety Act.

All companies that fall under the authority of the Railway Safety Act are required to obtain a Railway Operating Certificate. This includes:

  • federal railway companies, who must also hold a Certificate of Fitness from the Canadian Transportation Agency; and
  • local railway companies, which include provincially-regulated shortlines, light rail transit, and tourist trains that operate equipment on federally-regulated tracks.

Applying for a Railway Operating Certificate

Companies can apply for a Railway Operating Certificate by completing an application form and submitting a scanned copy to Transport Canada by email at railsafety@tc.gc.ca or by sending in the original form by registered mail to:

Rail Safety Regulatory Affairs
Transport Canada
Mailstop: ASRR
427 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

For examples of completed applications, please see the sample Railway Operating Certificate application (PDF format (1.05 MB)) for railway companies and the sample application for local railway companies, (PDF format (1.07 MB).

Applying for a Variation

Transport Canada may place terms and conditions on a Railway Operating Certificate to limit or restrict operations where deemed necessary for safe railway operations.

A variation is the removal or modification of a term or condition placed on a company’s Railway Operating Certificate.

Companies can apply for a variation to their Railway Operating Certificate by completing a variation application form and submitting a scanned copy to Transport Canada by email at railsafety@tc.gc.ca or by sending in the original form by registered mail to:

Rail Safety Regulatory Affairs
Transport Canada
Mailstop: ASRR
427 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5

For more information about Railway Operating Certificates, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions.

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