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Review panel issues recommendations to bolster Canada's rail safety act


Last week, Canadian Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence Cannon released a Railway Safety Act (RSA) review report that includes more than 50 recommended changes. An independent RSA review panel formed in February 2007 developed the recommendations and issued the report.

Among the recommendations, the act would require railroads to obtain a rail operating certificate, subject to meeting regulated baseline safety requirements, prior to launching or continuing operations; include monetary penalties as an additional compliance tool; and mandate that railroads file annual environmental management plans with Transport Canada.

"We will be working with the rail industry to reduce safety risks, increase accountability, improve the reporting of and response to incidents, and reduce environmental impacts," said Cannon in a prepared statement.

The minister already mandated that a newly created Advisory Council on Railway Safety address the direction of rail safety, rule making, regulation and policy. He also charged a joint Transport Canada-industry steering committee with developing an action plan to address the report's recommendations.

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) plans to work with the government and other stakeholders to improve rail safety.

"The industry continues to make improvements in safety and productivity while handling more business, reducing highway congestion and introducing new technology and processes," said RAC President and Chief Executive Officer Cliff Mackay.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/10/2008