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Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau last week launched the statutory review of Canada's Rail Safety Act a year ahead of schedule.The review will examine the act's existing provisions and programs, including their suitability, adequacy and effectiveness, according to a press release from the Canadian government.A final report from the panel assigned to review the act is expected by May 2018.The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) welcomes the review, said RAC President and Chief Executive Michael Bourque in a press release."The process will allow us to foster a greater awareness of the initiatives Canada's railways have undertaken to prevent accidents, and the areas that offer the best opportunities to improve rail safety," Bourque said.Throughout the review, the federal government will call on RAC members to provide input on ways to strengthen rail safety, he added."The review's chair and its panelists represent different communities and bring diverse points of view to the table," said Bourque. "The three previous reviews of the RSA concluded that Canada's railway transportation system is safe. Through a combination of regulation, public education and outreach, and sound public policy, we can get closer to our goal of zero accidents."Meanwhile, Transport Canada's Rail Safety Improvement Program (RSIP) is accepting applications for Infrastructure, Technology and Research (ITR) grants and Public Education and Awareness (E&A) grants.The RSIP funds safety improvements to existing rail lines, closures of grade crossings and initiatives to raise awareness about rail safety issues in Canada.The ITR component of the program funds projects that address immediate rail safety needs of communities; the E&A component funds public education projects aimed at reducing collisions at grade crossings and trespassing incidents on rail property.Applications for ITR funds are due Aug. 1 and E&A funds, Sept. 30.
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