Ottawa announces major investment for rail safety

$24 million investment will fund 147 projects across Canada

Ottawa announces major investment for rail safety

The federal government is nearly $24 million to fund 147 projects across Canada under the Rail Safety Improvement Program.

The funding will go towards 120 grade-crossing improvements, five crossing infrastructure projects, 10 grade crossing closures and 12 technology and research projects across the country. Projects to be funded this year include contributions for 58 grade crossing, infrastructure, and research projects in Ontario, for a total amount of more than $13 million.

"Investing in rail safety in Ontario and other parts of Canada will help keep communities safe,” said Omar Alghabra, minister of transport. “Since its inception four years ago, the Rail Safety Improvement Program has provided more than $107 million to enhance rail safety. We will continue to invest in projects that improve our rail system and that help keep Canadians safe.”

"We must continue to support grade crossing, infrastructure, and research projects in order to increase rail safety,” added Francesco Sorbara, member of parliament for Vaughan—Woodbridge. “By investing in these projects here in Ontario, we can address safety concerns and protect our communities."

The Rail Safety Improvement Program provides funding to provinces, territories, municipalities and local governments, road and transit authorities, crown corporations, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, academia, Indigenous groups, communities and organizations, and individuals/private landowners to help improve rail safety and reduce injuries and fatalities related to rail transportation.

Earlier this year, the federal government announced it is moving forward with its plan to use Enhanced Train Control technologies to improve rail safety. Transport Canada published a Letter of Intent in the Canada Gazette, Part I, detailing a path forward to implement the said technologies in the country.

In August 2021, Transport Canada also announced several changes to the Canadian Rail Operating Rules that will reduce the risk of uncontrolled movement of railway equipment.

In July last year, the agency started looking for input from stakeholders on how to improve the safety culture within Canada's rail industry.

“We know that a positive safety culture is a key component of a safe railway system and a necessary factor for continuous improvement,” said Alghabra back then. “Transport Canada will work with the rail industry and other key stakeholders towards a final safety culture policy statement for the Canada's rail industry, which provides a framework to help railway companies understand and address the challenges involved in building a good safety culture.”