Every day, the movement of dangerous goods by rail through our communities puts thousands of Canadians at risk.  Safe Rail Communities is a non-partisan initiative that advocates for safe, transparent, and regulated rail.  We are concerned citizens working to prevent rail accidents, and to reduce the impact of dangerous goods derailments.  We advocate for increased government regulation and enforcement, recommending that Canadian rail safety meet the highest
international standards.

deregulation of the rail industry: a brief history

Deregulation of the railway industry started in the late 1980s and has continued with successive governments over the last few decades. During this time, Transport Canada's role as a regulator has shifted from a more active, robust regulatory one to one replaced by a system which gives it less oversight powers. In the early 1990s the Safety Management System (SMS) model was inrtoduced.

This new model shifted the responsibility for safety away from Transport Canada and to the railways themselves. Essentially the railways would establish their own SMS and the government would audit them. Ideally this new model should have included a robust oversight role by Transport Canada. This did not occur. In fact, Transport Canada's oversight role continued to be weakened. This new shift in power is especially noted in changes made in the 1998 Railway Safety Act. In this act, the Canadian Rail Operating Rules were created. This new regime established a new model whereby regulations were reduced and rules (in most cases established by the railway industry itself) were introduced.

Safe Rail Communities is advocating for a return to a robust oversight role for Transport Canada.

Our history

Safe Rail Communities is a national, community-based initiative established in March 2014 by a few concerned neighbours in the west end of Toronto.

In response to increasing numbers of black DOT 111 tank cars marked with the 1267 red diamond plaque (indicating petroleum crude), we created our first federal petition. We began our campaign of awareness on this issue, canvassing in our neighbourhood and attending farmer’s markets and other community events.

We have written many letters to our government representatives and any organization that we thought could respond to our requests for action (Transport Canada, Transportation Safety Board, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, CN, CP). While we received replies from most, the responses were generally insufficient.

In our research and work on this issue, we have connected with many like-minded groups at home, across the country, and from the U.S. Many have provided us with tremendous support.

In December 2014, we submitted our recommendations to the review panel of the Canada Transportation Act. We looked forward to the panel’s final report due December 2015.

In January 2015, we submitted an environmental petition through the Auditor General’s office. We expect a response in June 2015.

In addition to our advocacy work at the federal and local level, Safe Rail Communities have presented before Federal parliamentary and senate committees.

In 2017 Safe Rail Communities was approved for a grant from Transport Canada which provided partial funding to develop our rail safety resources for residents across Canada.

We continue to share our knowledge and resources with residents and media, while advocate for meaningful change at the national level.


our mission

Safe Rail Communities is a national, community-based initiative that aims to share rail safety resources with communities across Canada.

We are regular, concerned citizens who are committed to supporting rail safety improvements and practices that will mitigate risks to public safety and the environment.



To find out more about us please visit Bios and Testimonials