Skip to main content

Wagons of the train wreck are seen in Lac Megantic, July 9, 2013.

MATHIEU BELANGER/REUTERS

A lawsuit and other legal battles. The final Transportation Safety Board report. Insurance rules. New tank cars. Kim Mackrael looks at other issues as criminal charges are filed.

Ongoing legal battles

Peter Flowers, a lawyer who represents 41 families affected by the tragedy in a lawsuit against MM&A railway and other companies, said he views the criminal charges as good news. "But it's really a first step. There are other parties that need to be held responsible," he said, pointing to oil companies and rail-car manufacturers as two examples. A separate class-action lawsuit was also filed in Canada last year.

Story continues below advertisement

In addition, the province of Quebec ordered MM&A, Canadian Pacific, and three oil companies to pay for the clean-up work related to the accident. The companies contested the order, and the matter is now before a Quebec tribunal. Clean-up and decontamination costs have been estimated at $200-million.

Transportation Safety Board investigation

The TSB is preparing a final investigation report that will look in detail at how the accident in Lac-Mégantic occurred and may provide additional recommendations for avoiding similar incidents. The agency has already released several interim recommendations during the past year, prompting new federal rules for emergency response planning and tank car construction, among others. A spokesperson for the TSB said on Tuesday that the investigation is now in its final phase, which involves writing and producing its report on the accident.

Insurance rules

After the derailment in Lac-Mégantic, the federal government announced that it would require shippers and railways to carry more insurance to deal with major accidents. MM&A did not have enough insurance to deal with the costs of the disaster in Lac-Mégantic, which will likely run into the billions of dollars when lawsuits and the clean-up effort are taken into account. (MM&A filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors last year and its assets have since been sold to another U.S.-based company). The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has advocated for a pooled insurance system that could be drawn upon in the event of another similar disaster.

Tank cars

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced new rules last month affecting the kinds of tanker cars that can be used to carry crude oil and other dangerous goods by rail. Older-model DOT-111 tank cars, which are commonly used to carry crude in North America, have been criticized for years as prone to puncture and corrosion. Within the next three years, industry will no longer be permitted to use the older-model tank cars to carry dangerous goods through Canada by rail.

Story continues below advertisement

The United States Transportation Department recently sent proposals on tank car standards to the White House, but new regulations are not expected to come into force in the U.S. before the end of this year.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter