Information Sharing on Transportation of Dangerous Goods
By A Correspondent
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, on November 20, issued a protective direction directing rail companies to share information with municipalities. By issuing the protective direction, the Minister has acted to further enhance safety in the transportation of dangerous goods and facilitate an ongoing dialogue between railways and municipalities.
"We recognize the responsibilities of all parties involved in maintaining safe railway transportation in Canada, " said Minister Raitt. "Our government remains committed to two-way dialogue and information exchange with key transportation stakeholders in communities across Canada. We are demonstrating that today with the issuance of this protective direction. "
Effective immediately, Transport Canada requires that:
· Any Canadian Class 1 railway company that transports dangerous goods must provide municipalities with yearly aggregate information, presented by quarter, on the nature and volume of dangerous goods the company transports by rail through that municipality; and
· Any person who transports dangerous goods by rail, who is not a Canadian Class 1 railway company, must provide municipalities with yearly aggregate information on the nature and volume of dangerous goods transported through that municipality and notify municipalities of any significant changes to that information, as soon as possible.
The safety of Canadians is Transport Canada's top priority. The department continues to work closely with all stakeholders, including the rail industry and municipalities to examine all means of improving rail safety and the transportations of dangerous goods.
"Our government is taking strong action to protect public safety, " said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. "Local governments and first responders are the front line in keeping our communities safe, and we are ensuring they have the information they need about the dangerous goods being transported in their communities. "
These measures address requests from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its members for more information on the dangerous goods being transported by rail in their communities. In addition these measures further support municipal emergency planners and first responders with their emergency planning and response training.
"Today's announcement is welcome news for Canadian communities," said Claude Dauphin, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. "It sends a clear message that the Government of Canada fully agrees that local governments need to know basic information about dangerous goods being transported through their communities."
Railway safety and transportation of dangerous goods regulations exist to protect the safety of the public. Transport Canada does not hesitate to take new steps whenever appropriate.
The Protective Direction was issued pursuant to section 32 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 and will remain in effect for three years, or until cancelled by the Minister or her designate, in order to allow the department sufficient time to develop appropriate permanent regulations.