Recommendations from a Commons transport committee study on transport safety

OTTAWA – The Conservative-dominated House of Commons transport committee tabled a report Thursday with 10 safety recommendations, including five related to rail transport:

— “That Transport Canada ensure that it has an adequate number of transportation of dangerous goods and rail safety inspectors to fulfil its oversight function.”

— “That Transport Canada ensure that all Class 111 tank cars used to transport flammable liquids meet enhanced protection standards that significantly reduce the risk of product loss when these cars are involved in accidents.”

— “That, to the greatest extent possible, Transport Canada ensure that any actions taken by Canada regarding the retrofit or replacement of Class 111 tanks cars are harmonized across the Canada-US border, due to the North American character of the railway system.”

— “That Transport Canada implement a comprehensive reform of the liability and compensation regime for rail to ensure that victims and their families obtain the compensation they deserve, that the polluter-pays principle is upheld, and that taxpayers are not forced to pay for compensation, remediation and reconstruction costs in the event of a rail disaster.”

— “That Transport Canada require the use by railways of on-board voice and video recordings as part of a company’s safety management system, consistent with the Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation.”

The Official opposition NDP added a number of rail safety recommendations, including:

— An independent public inquiry into rail transport of dangerous goods.

— “That Transport Canada perform unannounced, routine and risk-based inspections and oversight.”

— Public disclosure whenever safety-regulation exemptions are granted to transportation companies, along with justifications for the exemption.

— Ensure rail companies apply fatigue-science principles in employee scheduling.

— New grade crossing regulations, enhanced standards for crossing signs.

Source: Report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communications