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Transport Canada to review rail safety oversight based on auditor general's recommendations


Canadian Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt yesterday announced that Transport Canada will act on recommendations outlined in the Auditor General of Canada's recent report on rail safety oversight.

The report examined Transport Canada's oversight of rail safety in 2011 and 2012. In response to the report's findings and recommendations, Transport Canada will seek to review and improve processes, procedures and tools used by inspectors to assess safety risks; ensure timely and mandatory training for inspectors and managers; determine whether the current workforce has the necessary skills and competencies; and adopt a quality assurance plan that supports consistent oversight and inspection methodology, Raitt said in a press release.

"My department has developed an accelerated plan to respond to all the recommendations and has already begun working to implement most of them," she said.

Transport Canada also plans to accelerate the development and implementation of regulations stemming from recent amendments to the Railway Safety Act.

"Last week, I announced a protective direction directing rail companies to share information with municipalities to further enhance safety in the transportation of dangerous goods, and to facilitate an ongoing dialogue between railways and municipalities," said Raitt. "Furthermore, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities recently agreed to study the transportation of dangerous goods to ensure they are moved safely, including a review of the implementation of Safety Management Systems across air, marine and rail sectors."

The committee also will consult with industry and government stakeholders to gain their perspectives and advice on what more should be done to further strengthen the safety of Canada's transportation system.

"While Canada has one of the safest railway systems in the world — from 2007 to 2012, train accidents in Canada have gone down by 10 percent and train derailments are down by 41 percent from the five-year average — the department always looks for ways to make the railway system safer for all Canadians," said Raitt.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/27/2013