Rail Transportation Safety

Transportation and Communication


NCLGA Executive Recommendation: Endorse | Endorsed by the NCLGA and UBCM Memberships


WHEREAS the Transportation Safety Board has recommended:


a)    tougher standards for Class lll tank cars;


b)    strategic route planning and safer train operations for all trains carrying dangerous goods; and


c)    emergency response assistance plans along routes where large volumes of hazardous materials are being shipped;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the NCLGA lobby the Federal Government to legislate rail carriers to carry out the Transportation Safety Board's recommendations and provide local governments with:


a) timely information regarding the frequency of Class lll tank cars travelling through communities carrying hazardous materials;


b) emergency response plans, including estimated response times from emergency response bases to communities; and


c) personnel and stockpiles of emergency equipment situated as to ensure adequate and timely responses to railcar emergencies.

Additional Information

UBCM Comments: The UBCM membership has not previously considered a resolution calling on the federal government to enact legislation requiring rail carriers to implement Transportation Safety Board specific recommendations.


However, members have endorsed related resolutions, including 2011-B149, which asked the federal and provincial governments to assess whether emergency response capabilities along the Highway 16 corridor were “appropriate for the quantities and class of hazardous materials now being transported along the new Asia Pacific Gateway corridor.” Members also endorsed resolution 2007-B6, calling on the provincial and federal governments to “take measures to improve ... rural community response capacity in light of the potential increase in hazardous goods traffic.”


Since the Lac Mégantic train accident, much work has been done by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Transport Canada to take measures that will enhance rail safety; require carriers to carry higher insurance coverage; and provide greater sharing of information with local governments around what hazardous materials are travelling through their communities.


On April 23,2014 Transport Canada made an announcement in response to addressing the recommendations of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada recommendations. Transport Canada will:


  • Issue a Protective Direction removing the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service;
  • Require DOT-111 tank cars used to transport crude oil and ethanol that do not meet the standard published in January 2014 in Canada Gazette, Part I, or any other future standard, to be phased out or refitted within three years;
  • Issue a Protective Direction requiring Emergency Response Assistance Plans for crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and ethanol;
  • Create a task force that brings stakeholders such as municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country; and

Require railway companies to reduce the speed of trains carrying dangerous goods and implement other key operating practices.