July 11th, 2013

New Democrats demand overdue railway safety solutions

The Official Opposition’s Transport critic, Olivia Chow (Toronto–Spadina), is proposing measures to tighten railway safety rules in Canada.

“By acting on the recommendations of the Transportation Safety Board and Auditor General’s office to improve rail safety, we can make progress to ensure safer rail transport,” MP Olivia Chow said. “From automatic braking systems to risk mitigation in the transportation of dangerous goods – we can take practical steps now.”

A 2011 audit of Transport Canada by the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development found that basic business practices such as up-to-date databases, quality assurance programs and performance standards were insufficient or missing.

In addition to those recommendations, New Democrats are also proposing:

  • Phasing out the use of DOT-111 tank cars in the transport of hazardous materials and providing a deadline for their complete removal.
  • Ending the practice of having only one engineer aboard a train when dangerous goods are being transported.
  • Making public all audits of MM&A rail operations, and revoking their operating licence if their safety measures are inadequate;
  • Informing municipalities about where and when dangerous goods will be transported through their communities.

New Democrats are looking forward to working with the federal government, railway companies and stakeholders to make Canada’s railways safer.

“We’re proposing practical solutions, and we hope to work with the Transport Minister to implement them as quickly as possible,” said Chow.