Since March 2014, Safe Rail Communities has been advocating for greater transparency and safeguards with respect to the transportation by rail of dangerous goods.
On April 28, 2015, we testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, and Communities (TRAN). It was a huge privilege to be invited to speak about Bill C-52 (Safe and Accountable Rail Act) on behalf of Canadians, especially given the other witnesses that day:
- Federation of Canadian Municipalities
- Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs
- Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
- Freight Management Association of Canada
- Canadian Transportation Agency
Here is a link to the official audio recording of the TRAN session. It’s almost two hours long, and all of the testimony is interesting. Our statement starts at about the 1:04 mark. We each had 10 minutes to make our presentations.
Even if you or your family and friends do not live near a rail line, you might be interested to learn that even with the new minimum insurance standards set out in Bill C-52, railways do not carry enough liability insurance to cover the cost of a catastrophic event. This means that Canadians are on the hook for any costs beyond the $1M liability insurance standard. The estimated cost for a ‘high consequence event’ like that of Lac-Megantic is $6B US. This figure comes from the a report by Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation), which also estimates that based on the current increase in the transportation by rail of crude oil, there will be 5-9 ‘high consequence events’ in the next 20 years.
We will be hosting a Town Hall on Rail Safety on Friday, June 12th, 2015 (7 pm – 9:30 pm) in the auditorium of the Toronto Grosvenor Street YMCA. More details to come soon.