Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, addressed executives at the Advisory Council on Railway Safety and underscored the critical role of the railway industry as the government strengthens railway safety standards.

Minister Raitt reiterated the government’s priority of safety and highlighted its actions following Lac-Mégantic, including issuing an emergency directive to railway companies requiring trains carrying dangerous goods be operated by at least two people; no trains carrying dangerous goods be left unattended on a main track, and other measures. She also noted the issuing of a ministerial order obligating railway companies to develop rules to comply with these requirements permanently.

Minister Raitt talked about the government taking targeted action to make the transportation of dangerous goods safer and the protective direction, requiring consignors to conduct classification tests on crude oil, recently issued by Transport Canada. She also discussed the way forward, including how the Advisory Council can play a crucial role in the government’s accelerated development and implementation of regulations that reflect recent amendments to the Railway Safety Act.

She asked Advisory Council members to examine operations, while balancing the legitimate concerns of communities, to identify concrete actions that can be taken to further reduce safety risks; provide updates on the implementation of the ministerial order issued in July, specifically concerning crew sizes and securing of rail cars; and explore what can be done to address train speed in urban areas, operator fatigue, technology, and any other areas that they feel need to be addressed. "I am convinced that, by working together, we will strengthen both the safety of our rail system and the role it will play in Canada’s future," said Minister Raitt.

The Advisory Council on Railway Safety provides a forum for the discussion of railway safety issues and the development and assessment of changes to the Railway Safety Act regulatory framework. Members include railway companies, Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada, provinces, shippers, suppliers and municipalities.