Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Under new safety rules announced by Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, Canadian railways will have until Jan. 1, 2017, to obtain an operating certificate from Transport Canada.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canadian railways will have until Jan. 1, 2017, to obtain an operating certificate from Transport Canada under new safety rules announced by the minister.

New railway entrants to the Canadian market must obtain a "Railway Operating Certificate" before they hit the tracks, but Canada's existing 66 rail companies have been given two years to meet the regulations, which come into force in the new year.

The operating certificates were first recommended back in 2008, and last November the auditor general called for proper regulations governing when a railway is granted such a certificate.

Story continues below advertisement

The audit report came in the wake of the devastating derailment of an unattended oil train in Lac Megantic, Que., which claimed 47 lives.

"These new regulations are an added tool for this government to ensure that railway operations are being conducted in the safest manner possible," Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a release Wednesday.

"Railway Operating Certificates represent an additional layer to Transport Canada's oversight program and further strengthen its enforcement regime."

According to a government backgrounder in the Canada Gazette, the application form will take only an hour to complete — including six minutes by management and 54 minutes by clerical staff — and does not require documentation proving that rail companies will meet safety standards.

"The company's chief executive officer (CEO) or most senior level executive who possesses unique knowledge of company resources and operations is best able to make this determination and be comfortable attesting to such based on his or her own, internal risk management analysis, which does not need to be submitted to Transport Canada," says the Canada Gazette.

It adds that the "CEO will not be held personally liable based on the attestation since it is made at a particular date and time."

Raitt announced the government was looking at operating certificates last March and opened the process to stakeholder consultations.

Story continues below advertisement

Railway companies objected to regulations requiring that they meet the "highest level of safety," according to the Canada Gazette, but the term was retained.

"The Act defines the term 'highest level of safety' as 'lowest acceptable level of risk as demonstrated by a risk management analysis,"' says the document.

A copy of that analysis is not required by Transport Canada.

The certificates are a means of enforcing safety compliance by railway companies without resorting to prosecution, says the Gazette.

Inspectors may issue non-compliance letters, which rail companies will have 14 days to address.

"As a matter of policy," states the Canada Gazette, "Transport Canada would only cancel or suspend the ROC (Railway Operating Certificate) in extreme cases where there is company-wide or chronic non-compliance or where their operation poses a serious risk to safe railway operations."

Story continues below advertisement

The government document says the anticipated benefit of the certificate is "improved rail safety that takes into account Canada's economic well-being."

"This program and process have been designed to be quick and efficient and to avoid undue burden on applicants," says the document.

Report an error
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 ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies