June 18, 2021 Ottawa, Ontario Transport Canada
Accidents at grade crossings are a serious safety issue, representing approximately one third of all fatalities and half of all serious injuries from railway accidents. That is why the Government of Canada continues taking action to address the risks related to grade crossings and improve rail safety across the country.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced the publication of proposed amendments to Grade Crossings Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 30-day public comment period.
The proposed amendments will ensure that the Grade Crossings Regulations are more effective in focusing the efforts of railway companies, public road authorities and private crossing owners on grade crossings that present the greatest risks to community safety.
The Grade Crossings Regulations initially gave railway companies, public road authorities and owners of private crossings a deadline of November 28, 2021, to comply with the requirements for existing public and private crossings.
After receiving considerable input from stakeholder groups, Transport Canada is proposing to amend the Grade Crossings Regulations to modify the compliance deadline in a manner that accounts for the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, while still delivering on its fundamental commitment to strengthen rail safety in Canada.
The proposed amendments establish new compliance deadlines to meet the requirements of the Regulations based on the various levels of risks posed by grade crossings. This includes:
- a one-year extension for existing public grade crossings which present a higher risk;
- a three-year extension for all remaining public and all private grade crossings; and
- an exclusion from the construction and maintenance requirements for very low-risk grade crossings (such as field-to-field crossings with minimal train traffic).
Rail safety is a top priority for Transport Canada and the department is committed to protecting all Canadians who live and work along railway tracks by putting in place the necessary measures to reduce the risk of serious accidents.