Minister Raitt announces new rail and dangerous goods requirements

Strengthening transportation safety for Canadians and their communities

OTTAWA, June 27, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced new rules aimed at further safeguarding communities along our country's railway lines.

The new measures, which the Minister highlighted as part of her call with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities earlier today, introduce amendments under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act; the Railway Safety Management System Regulations; and the Transportation Information Regulations. Key changes include:

  • Requiring 35 provincially regulated railway and light-rail companies operating on federal track to develop and implement Safety Management Systems;

  • Formalizing new DOT-111 tank car standards that will require thicker steel walls and other reinforcements to reduce the risk of spills on impact; and

  • Improving data reporting requirements for railways, requiring them to proactively identify and address safety risks before accidents happen.

These changes will help build a stronger safety culture among railway companies, strengthen requirements for rail tank cars and other means of containment, and help reduce the risk of accidents.

Transport Canada continues to work closely with stakeholders—railways, shippers, municipalities, first responders, and U.S. officials— to protect the health and safety of Canadians.


"Our government is committed to railway safety and the safe movement of dangerous goods. The upcoming regulations will further strengthen safety in Canada's already robust transportation system."

The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

Related Products

  • Backgrounder: Amendments to transportation of dangerous goods legislation
  • Backgrounder: Railway Safety Management System Regulations
  • Backgrounder Transportation Information Regulations


Amendments to transportation of dangerous goods legislation
Improving the way dangerous goods are transported by rail

In July 2014, amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act will be published in Canada Gazette, Part II. These amendments will update the DOT-111 tank car standard, introduce new and revised means of containment criteria, improve how dangerous goods are classified, and harmonize the way these goods are labelled across North America.


There are many classes and types of tank cars, all designed to be strong enough to handle the forces of a full train in motion. The DOT-111 is designated to carry liquids.

The DOT-111 tank car is a large family of railcars, each one built to carry specific goods. While all tank cars share certain common design features, not all DOT-111 tank cars are built the same.


Improved DOT-111 tank car standard

The new standard for the DOT‑111 tank car includes thicker steel as well as head shield and top fitting protection. All newly manufactured tank cars built for petroleum crude oil service are required to comply with the new standard. The department continues to work with stakeholders, including officials in the U.S., to further improve the North American fleet of DOT-111 tank cars.

Means of containment standards

Transport Canada is introducing new, and revising current, means of containment standards. A safe means of containment—the container or packaging used to hold goods—prevents the release of dangerous goods that could endanger life, health, property or the environment under normal conditions of transport.

Enhanced classification

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act divides dangerous goods into nine classes according to the type of danger they present. Shippers are responsible for classifying dangerous goods, completing documentation, selecting the proper means of containment and displaying dangerous goods safety marks on the container.

Following the amendments, shippers will also be required to keep records for up to five years on the classification of dangerous goods and the sampling method used for crude oil. These classification changes will make it easier for inspectors to verify compliance with regulatory requirements.

June 2014


Railway Safety Management System Regulations
An effective SMS places safety at the cornerstone of all railway operations

Transport Canada is proposing new regulations to replace the Railway Safety Management System Regulations (SMS Regulations) that came into force in 2001. The new SMS Regulations, which are expected to be published in Canada Gazette, Part I, in July 2014, will modernize existing requirements and help railways better identify and manage safety risks.

Extending requirements to local railway companies

Since 2001, federal railway companies have been required to have an SMS. Under the proposed SMS Regulations, local railway companies will also be required to develop an SMS. A local railway company is a provincially regulated railway company or light-rail commuter service that operates on federal track; there are 35 of these companies in Canada.

Making safety a shared responsibility

An effective SMS requires leadership at every level of an organization. The proposed SMS Regulations will help railways better integrate safety into day-to-day operations, so that the entire company—from front line employees to senior management—make safety management a priority.

Under the proposed changes, railway companies will be required to appoint an executive legally accountable for safety. A process must also be created for employees to report safety risks to their employer without fear of being reprimanded.

Introducing requirements to enhance SMS

The proposed SMS Regulations will improve how railway companies develop, implement and assess their SMS. The proposed changes include new or updated processes to:

  • Encourage employees to report accidents to senior management;
  • Analyze data and trends to identify safety concerns;
  • Manage organizational knowledge so that employees can perform their duties more safely;
  • Improve work scheduling to prevent employee fatigue;
  • Create annual safety targets and develop tools to achieve them.

What is an SMS?

In the past, railway companies managed safety through compliance with prescriptive rules and regulations. As research progressed during the 1990s, it became clear that it takes more than compliance to ensure safety. What railway companies needed was an organization-wide approach to identify and address risks before an accident happens.

This led to the introduction of safety management systems (SMS). An SMS provides railway companies with a focused approach to building safety throughout an organization and into every aspect of its day-to-day operations.

An SMS does not replace any regulations, rules or standards. It is a system that helps companies better comply with federal legislation and make safety an organization-wide priority.

The basic component includes safety goals, performance targets, risk assessments, responsibilities and authorities, rules and procedures, and monitoring and evaluation processes.

Transport Canada monitors compliance through formal SMS audits and detailed inspections of infrastructure, equipment and operations, and does not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action in cases where non-compliance is found.

June 2014


Transportation Information Regulations
Increased data collection will help prevent accidents and improve railway safety across Canada

Transport Canada is proposing amendments to the Transportation Information Regulations to better identify and address safety risks before accidents happen. The amendments are expected to be published in Canada Gazette, Part I, in July 2014.

Railway data reporting in Canada

Currently, railway safety data is collected after an accident happens—commonly referred to as lagging indicators. Lagging indicators help Transport Canada target inspections and monitor compliance with the Railway Safety Act and its regulations, rules and standards.

Under the proposed changes, Class I and Class II rail carriers will be required to report leading indicator data to Transport Canada. Leading indicators are measurable factors that can be used to proactively identify and address safety risks before accidents occur. They would improve safety by supporting better planning and performance measurement, more focused audits and inspections, and targeted programs that address specific safety issues.

ICAD Working Group

The Information, Collection, Analysis and Dissemination (ICAD) Working Group was created to respond to recommendations stemming from the Railway Safety Act Review. The Working Group, which comprised representatives from government, industry and labour, identified 15 leading indicators to be gathered under the proposed regulations.

The leading indicators are grouped into three categories—operations, equipment, and engineering—and may include, for example, data on:

  • railway staffing and training activities (e.g. employee proficiency tests and results);
  • condition and maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock (e.g. number of broken or cracked wheels found on a train in a yard); and
  • railway infrastructure repairs (e.g. number of bridges with temporary speed restrictions).

June 2014  

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Jana Régimbal
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons living with visual disabilities.


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