Good progress on rail safety enhancement but concerns remain with Bill C-49

CIAC has submitted comments to the Railway Safety Act Review focusing on safety management systems, data transparency and availability, the importance of harmonization, engagement with communities, labour issues, technology and sustainability. Overall, CIAC applauds the Railway Safety Act Review Panel’s efforts to enhance rail transportation safety and recognition of interrelated elements of rail transportation.

For enhancing rail safety CIAC believes in a risked-based approach to decision making and focusing on key areas where significant improvements can be realized including incidents that occur at level crossings, trespassing, and during loading and unloading. One area that requires strengthening is access to accurate and transparent information to make sound decisions – in recent initiatives Transport Canada has correctly identified the need for transparent information with the commitment to establish a “new data regime to support evidence-based decision-making by government and stakeholders that is available to all who operate, oversee, analyze and use the transportation system.” However, CIAC remains concerned about certain areas of Bill C-49 which involve the timeliness and availability of data.

CIAC’s submission also stressed that while regulations and minimum acceptable performance are important, excellence in safety management is driven by safety management systems and a culture of performance excellence and continuous improvement.

CIAC appreciates the opportunity to be included in the panel’s discussions regarding rail safety and looks forward to continuing engaging in various roundtables taking place this fall.

The entire submission is available for download here.