Certification process for employees who inspect tracks and supervise their restoration now required
Transport Canada has approved the changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety, which specify safety requirements that railway companies must follow when inspecting and maintaining their railway track infrastructure.
The changes are the result of a Ministerial Order that was issued in 2020 to address major risks that could cause derailments due to the condition of railway infrastructure.
“These changes to the Rules Respecting Track Safety will help ensure improved inspection and maintenance practices become a permanent part of safer railway operations in Canada,” said Omar Alghabra, minister of transport. “They demonstrate our government's commitment to directly address the Auditor General's recent findings, and mitigate the key risks facing Canada's rail network.”
Under the revised rules, railway companies must put in place a certification process for employees who inspect tracks and supervise the restoration of tracks. This will ensure that their personnel have the proper knowledge and experience to carry out their safety duties.
Railway companies must also establish a process to ensure that track maintenance and repair work meets regulatory requirements and the railway companies' own standards to improve accountability.
They must also develop and implement comprehensive plans to manage rail wear and the condition of the rail surface, that are to be approved by a professional engineer to improve the integrity of railway tracks.
These changes are part of a broader strategy to strengthen rail safety in Canada, and directly respond to findings in the Auditor General's February 2021 follow-up audit on rail safety, according to the government.
In March, Transport Canada issued two new Ministerial Orders under the Railway Safety Act to further reduce the risk of uncontrolled movement of rail equipment. The previous month, it approved the changes to the Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes under the Railway Safety Act.