Minister Raitt reaffirms Canada's commitment to the safe transportation of dangerous goods at meeting with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs

OTTAWA, Nov. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today met with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs to further discuss enhancing the safe transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) as part of an ongoing dialogue with Canada's first responders.

"The safety of Canadians is Transport Canada's top priority," said Minister Raitt. "The department continues to work closely with all stakeholders, including first responders, to examine all means of improving rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods."

Following the tragic accident this summer at Lac-Mégantic, the Government of Canada committed to bringing forward targeted action to increase the safety of the transportation of dangerous goods. To this end, Minister Raitt recently asked the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (SCOTIC) to undertake a review of the current TDG regime and examine progress made on Safety Management Systems (SMS) implementation in all modes and make recommendations on further areas for improvement.

Maintaining safe railway transportation is a shared responsibility amongst international partners, provinces, territories, municipalities and industry. As such, the department continues to work closely with key transportation stakeholders in the sharing of information.

"Transport Canada recognizes the critical role first responders play in an emergency," added Minister Raitt. "By working together with our partners, by sharing information and providing tools and resources, we can make Canada's railway system safer and more secure."

"Canada's fire chiefs welcome the government's commitment to strengthen rail safety as expressed by Minister Raitt in our meeting today and in the Prime Minister's Speech from the Throne," said Fire Chief Rob Simonds, Past President of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and Chair of the CAFC Government Relations Committee. "We are encouraged by the Minister's attention to the recommendations we've put forward on behalf of the Fire Service to ensure emergency responders have the information, training and emergency planning protocols to protect Canadians and our communities when incidents do occur."

Transport Canada operates, at no cost to municipalities or first responders, a 24/7 Canadian Transport Emergency Centre (CANUTEC) to assist local emergency response personnel in handling dangerous goods emergencies. CANUTEC is staffed by bilingual professional scientists specialized in emergency response and experienced in interpreting technical information and providing advice to first responders.

The CAFC is an in-dependent, non-profit organization with a voluntary membership. Founded in 1909, CAFC was incorporated in 1965 under the Canadian Corporations Act with its head office in Ottawa, Canada. The CAFC is the national public service association dedicated to reducing the loss of life and property from fire, and advancing the science and technology of the Fire and Emergency Service in Canada.

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Ashley Kelahear
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Honourable
Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-991-0700

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055

Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through RSSTwitterFacebookYouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

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