Report: UPDATE ON RAIL SAFETY
June 16, 2016
As the member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities representing the NDP, I participated in the review of rail safety. We heard from representatives of Transport Canada, Transportation Safety Board, rail companies, rail workers, and rail inspectors. We travelled to Lac-Mégantic to seek the views and concerns of that community on responses to that rail disaster and actions needed to respond and prevent future tragedies. Regrettably the Committee refused requests by a number of communities, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to learn of the their concerns and recommendations. We also failed to hear from a number of legal experts on their research examining deficiencies and gaps in laws regulating rail safety.
The report identifies many concerns long identified by rail workers, inspectors, TSB and the Auditor General of Canada, yet unaddressed. Two concerns stood out for me. The first is concern with the growing over-reliance on self-made rules by the rail sector on rail safety, a subject that demands clear government intervention in the public interest. The second is the widely expressed concern with limited public consultation or information access on decisions allowing transport of dangerous rail cargo to pass through communities and along waterways.
Consequently, the report also includes my supplementary report outlining additional concerns and recommendations for strengthening rail safety.