On April 26, 2017, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau launched a Statutory Review of the Railway Safety Act (the Act). The Review will focus on the effectiveness of the federal rail safety legislative and regulatory framework, the operations of the Act itself, and the degree to which the Act meets its core objective of ensuring rail safety is in the best interest of Canadians.

The Minister of Transport has appointed Richard Paton as Panel Chair to lead the Review, with the support of Vice-Chairs Brenda Eaton and Pauline Quinlan. The Review will be also be supported by a Secretariat. The Review will be guided by the terms of reference established by the Minister of Transport, which determine the mandate and scope for the Review.

The mandate of this Review stems from the Act, which requires a comprehensive review of the operation of the Act no later than 5 years after the day that section 51 (1) came into force. As committed in the Government Response to the June 2016 Report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and as part of Transportation 2030 – A Strategic Plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada: Safer Transportation, the Minister of Transport has accelerated the Review to begin on May 1, 2017, rather than in May 2018, to evaluate more promptly the current state of rail safety in Canada.

The Panel is expected to submit a report to the Minister of Transport by May 2018. Transport Canada will then carefully consider the findings and any recommendations and will take appropriate action to further strengthen rail safety in Canada. The last Review of the Act was completed in 2007. A report, Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety, was published as a result.