What We Do

The Government of Canada recognizes that now, more than ever, we need a safe and secure transportation system for a healthy and competitive economy. Efficient, safe and secure transportation systems and environmental responsibility are important priorities for Transport Canada.

Transport Canada promotes safe and secure transportation systems. Read more about how Transport Canada is serving Canadians.

A safe and secure transportation system protects people from loss of life and from loss of or damage to health and property. It also:

  • enables the efficient flow of people and goods;
  • protects people from accidents and exposure to dangerous goods;
  • protects the environment from pollution that can result from such events; and
  • contributes to a healthy population, a high quality of life and a prosperous economy.

Transport Canada's safety and security activities include the following:

  • Aircraft services
  • Civil aviation
  • Marine safety
  • Marine security
  • Rail safety
  • Road safety
  • Security and emergency preparedness
  • Transportation of dangerous goods
  • Rail and urban transit security

Safety and security management identifies, prevents or reduces risks and threats before they occur. Small problems are fixed before they become more serious. For example, Transport Canada conducts research on how accidents happen and:

  • helps organizations develop and use safety management systems to identify and minimize the possibility of accidents; and
  • devotes resources to help prevent accidents in areas where they are most likely to occur.

Working with its partners here and abroad, Transport Canada promotes safety in three main ways: rulemaking, oversight and outreach.

Rulemaking efforts include proposing and putting in place laws, regulations, standards and policies.

Oversight activities include issuing licences, certificates, registrations and permits; conducting audits, inspections and surveillance; and taking action when rules are broken.

Outreach activities include promoting, educating the public about and increasing their awareness of safety and security issues.

Air Safety

Transport Canada works with many partners here and abroad to improve the safety of air travel. This work includes:

  • inspecting aircraft to make sure they are safe to fly;
  • setting standards for testing and licensing pilots; and
  • testing crewmembers on emergency response procedures.

Rail Safety

Transport Canada works with its partners to improve rail safety by:

  • administering programs and services to support a clear and innovative regulatory regime;
  • working with railways and local communities to improve the safety of rail crossings, including closing crossings where possible; and
  • funding awareness programs about the dangers of trespassing on rail property for school-aged children.

Marine Safety

Transport Canada promotes marine safety by:

  • regulating safety requirements of pleasure craft and commercial vessels;
  • monitoring pleasure craft, commercial vessels, foreign-registered vessels entering Canadian waters and offshore drilling rigs to verify that they meet safety standards; and
  • helping promote the safe operation of commercial shipping by certifying officers and crews on Canadian ships.

Road Safety

Transport Canada helps improve road safety by:

  • setting safety standards for new and imported vehicles and equipment;
  • testing the safety of new vehicles, as well as child car seats, which are among the safest in the world;
  • investigating vehicle defects and working with manufacturers to issue recalls when appropriate; and
  • regulating the safety of the interprovincial truck and motor coach industry.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods

Transport Canada works with its partners to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods, including:

  • establishing safety standards and regulations for the safe transportation of dangerous goods;
  • monitoring compliance of modal shippers, consignors and importers with the emergency response assistance plan, means of containment standards and facility assessments; and
  • operating the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre to help emergency response personnel deal with dangerous goods accidents.


Transport Canada develops and enforces security regulations, and works with national and international partners to prevent and manage security risks in all transportation modes, including:

  • developing security regulations for aviation and marine security;
  • establishing and reviewing security plans for rail and urban transit; and
  • taking action and working with partners in the event of threats.

Research and Development

Transport Canada also conducts a range of research and development (R&D) activities. The department's R&D mandate is to develop the scientific knowledge and technology required for effective delivery of Transport Canada's policy, safety and security, and program objectives, and to help accomplish the department's mission by fostering innovation in the Canadian transportation sector.

Environmental Responsibility

We cannot make a significant impact on Canada's greenhouse gases and pollution without taking serious steps to tackle the emissions and other environmental impacts from the transportation sector.

Transport Canada's ongoing efforts to promote an environmentally responsible transportation system focus on three key program priorities:

  • climate change and clean air;
  • environmental assessment; and
  • environmental protection and remediation.

As part of its environmental agenda, the Government of Canada launched the Shore Power Technology for Ports Program. This technology allows visiting ships to plug into the local electrical grid to power the vessel instead of using their auxiliary diesel engines when docked.

Healthy Economy

Canada's prosperity and quality of life depend on our success as a trading nation. Today, in an era of rapidly moving global supply chains, our transportation systems must connect Canada with the world.

The Government of Canada's National Policy Framework for Strategic Gateways and Trade Corridors takes advantage of geographic, trade and transportation opportunities in key regions.

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is the first application of the gateway approach. Its purpose is to make Canada the best place for people and goods to travel between North America and Asia. The other two gateways are the Atlantic Gateway and the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway.

Canada's gateway strategies will do the following:

  • Reach global markets

Global supply chains require that freight moves quickly, safely and securely to and from our major trading partners.

  • Target key locations

Focusing on key locations that are important to trade will benefit all Canadians. The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative was the first step to meet pressing needs in the region. The National Policy Framework supports two priorities for new gateway and corridor strategies in central Canada (the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway) and eastern Canada (the Atlantic Gateway).

  • Prepare for the future

Success in the global market means planning for new patterns and trends. For example, as ships and aeroplanes become larger, they place new demands on ports and airports, and the road and rail systems that connect to them.

  • Address all issues linked to transport

How we improve our transportation system will touch many parts of our lives. Protection of the environment and the security of Canadians are just two of the many issues linked to transportation that will be important as we move forward.

ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles

A clean, sustainable transportation system is a must. The ecoTECHNOLOGY for Vehicles (eTV) program is helping to build that system by exploring the latest clean vehicle technologies.

The goals: to find and accelerate the introduction in Canada of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, pollutants and fuel consumption and to help improve Canadians' awareness of vehicles that use those technologies.

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