Sponsors: District of Vanderhoof
NCLGA Executive Recommendation: Endorse
WHEREAS Transport Canada made the requirement in 2013 obliging railroad companies to provide annual aggregate information on dangerous and hazardous good, on a quarterly basis for CN and CP to municipalities that request it;
AND WHEREAS there is no consideration to go beyond the current approach, which would ensure emergency response organizations have the information on dangerous and hazardous goods at their disposal:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Transport Canada require that all railway companies ensure that local emergency response organizations are provided with up to the minute information on the dangerous and hazardous goods on any train that is traveling through their community.
The rail industry enhances safety by working closely with communities. They engage first responders and local officials, sharing information about their safety programs, notification and response protocols, and the training that is offered in support of our mutual goal to protect public safety.
Communities are also informed about what dangerous goods are transported through their area to help emergency response agencies better prepare for response to a potential incident.
The problem remains that local emergency response teams are not getting the information quick enough. Railway operators know what is on each railway car that travels through Vanderhoof. It simply isn’t enough that we get information on what went through our community six months before. Up-to-the day information is available and should be provided to local emergency response teams.
The UBCM membership endorsed resolution 2014-B55, which in part requested federal legislation that would require rail carriers to provide local governments with “timely information regarding the frequency of Class lll tank cars travelling through communities carrying hazardous materials.”
Members also endorsed resolution 2015-B13, which called for a “comprehensive national strategy for the rail transportation of dangerous and hazardous goods” that would include in part:
· A security-focused, prevention-based reporting structure to allow first responders and key municipal officials information about dangerous and hazardous goods before they pass through their community; and
· A strategy to allow for local governments to induce timely inquiries into infrastructure safety after rail derailments or similar failures.
The sponsor correctly notes that the federal government in 2013 began requiring railway companies, if requested by local governments, to share with municipal first responders and emergency planners information on the nature and volume of dangerous goods being transported by rail through their communities. However, UBCM acknowledges that at present, the railway companies provide this information only to local governments that request it; and on an annual basis, rather than up to the minute.