August 12, 2016

Hello,

Hope you’re enjoying the summer weather! Since our last newsletter, there has been some developments on the rail safety front. We’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update.

Lac-Mégantic Anniversary

July 6 marked the 3rd anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. Its residents held a gathering to remember those who lost their lives, and to remind us all that so much more needs to be done.

Bruce Campbell, former director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, had the opportunity to speak in that gathering for Lac-Mégantic.

Transport Canada Developments

On July 25 Minister Garneau announced an accelerated phase out of the DOT 111 tank cars carrying crude oil. 

While this certainly is a move in the right direction, these tank cars will still be allowed to carry other flammable and dangerous goods until 2025. Furthermore, there is no mention of addressing the explosive nature of volatile crude oil, ethanol and other flammable substances.

Transport Canada published its Transportation of Dangerous Goods Newsletter (July 2016).  The focus of this edition is to provide an overview of the dangers of volatile crude oil; including a summary of Transport Canada’s final report on the analysis of crude oil. Take a look!

More News Articles of Interest...
CP track worker layoffs pose derailment risks: union (CBC)
74 runaway CN Rail cars rolled 5 km out of GTA yard, TSB says (CBC)
Canada needs further rail safety reforms: Editorial (Toronto Star)

GTA Interactive Blast Zone Map - Zoom in, and scroll through it here!

Ever wonder how many schools or hospitals fall within the Blast Zone? SRC has partnered with  FracTracker Alliance to map these numbers in communities across Canada.

The first interactive map is ready (for the Greater Toronto Area), and more will be completed in the next couple of months.

Let's Blow the Whistle!

On July 28th Ecojustice, on behalf of Greenpeace and Safe Rail Communities, launched a campaign calling on the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to designate all oil-by-rail facilities for an environmental assessment.

You can help us urge the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to take action by signing onto this letter.  

Thank you!
 

Oh! And, please stay tuned for more details of our upcoming 2nd annual Comedy Fundraiser!!!

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May 31, 2016

Hello everyone.


We'd like to share with you some details of our efforts over the past month!
 
In our last update, we told you about a Joint Community Town Hall meeting that happened during Rail Safety Week (April 25-29). Our participation at the closed roundtable discussion led to a direct invitation from Minister Garneau for us to meet with the Directors General of both Rail Safety, and Transportation of Dangerous Goods departments. In this 90-minute meeting, we were able to share more personally with the Directorates our concerns and recommendations regarding rail safety. We feel very positively about Transport Canada's commitment to move forward with continued open dialogue, and look forward to another meeting in a couple of months.
 
A bit earlier in the month, we submitted a brief to the House ofto the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities. In this brief, we shared our disappointment in the narrow scope of the Committee’s current mandate, and again our concerns and recommendations.

On Wednesday, May 18th, we delivered a presentation on Transport and Communication to the Senate Standing Committee. The mandate of this Committee is to examine and report on a strategy to get crude to refineries on the east and west coasts while sharing risks and benefits as broadly as possible across the country. We chose to focus on the risks involved, and what can be done immediately to make the transport by rail of dangerous goods safer.

Let's steam ahead!


Thank you to all who have signed either of our previous paper petitions, presented in the House of Commons! Since the federal implementation of e-petitions late last year, we now have Safe Rail Communities’ first electronic petition, sponsored by our MP, Arif Virani. This petition has been open for signatures since February, and will remain open until June 18th, when Arif will be able to present it in the House of Commons. Please help us continue to send a strong message to Parliament on this important issue of rail safety, sign our petition and feel free to invite your friends to do so too!

See the e-petition!

You can always contact your MP and let him/her know of your concern on this issue which falls under federal jurisdiction.

Find your MP!

To support our continued work on rail safety, you can also kindly consider helping us reach our annual fundraising goal of $5000 to cover the costs of our insurance and yearly expenses. Donate now!

Hoop for Safe Rail!


Finally, we are happy to share that our second annual Family Fun Fair will take place on Sunday, June 12th, from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm at Vine Park, in the west end of Toronto. We'll have a BBQ, free activities for children, a hoop-a-thon, and a silent auction with awesome items generously donated by local businesses - including a vintage-style Cruiser donated by 3030 and Amsterdam Brewery! Please come out and join us if you’re in Toronto!
Remember, we're here to support you and work as a community. Please always feel free to contact us with any question, comment or suggestion.


Keep it safe,

Safe Rail Communities' Team

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April 28, 2016

Hello everyone,

Did you know it's Rail Safety Week?

Yesterday we had the pleasure of participating of a Joint Community Town Hall meeting on Rail Safety. The meeting was organized by MPs Carolyn Bennett and Chrystia Freeland, and had as guest speaker our Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau. We were happy for taking part on this discussion, and now hope to walk towards more meaningful progress from there.

Following Min. Garneau's encouragement to learn more about rail safety, we thought of sending you a timely reminder of some of the issues we've been working with. We'll also point out a few simple actions you can take with us towards ensuring public safety on our railways.


While there's been much talk on railway crossings improvements, we must also remember other issues that are crucial for insuring safe, transparent and regulated rails. 

Here are some of them:

  • The volatility of crude oil is a key risk factor for explosive derailments. We need a legislated safety-based standard for volatility, to compel industry to adopt the technology to reduce the volatility of crude oil transported. We also need to phase out unsafe tank cars immediately.
  • Unlimited absolute liability must be prescribed for rail carriers and shippers of dangerous goods; and they must have sufficient insurance to cover the full cost of a derailment in a densely populated area.
  • Government must strengthen oversight of the rail Safety Management System, and increase the number of onsite rail inspectors.
  • We need increased transparency and accountability. First Responders must have real-time data about dangerous goods shipments. Railway route analyses and risk assessments regarding the shipment of dangerous goods by rail must be open to the public.

Now, here are 6 ways in which you can take action on this Rail Safety Week:

 1- SIGN AND SHARE OUR ON-LINE PETITION
Our on-line petition is available for you to read, sign and share. We're aiming 1,000 signatures by June, so we can send a strong message to Ottawa.

See the Petition!

2- TALK TO YOUR MP
Ask your MP to support rail safety in your community. We've gathered some recommendations you can take to your representative.

Recommendations

3- START A COMMUNITY WIDE EFFORT
We've got the tools you need for starting your own Safe Rail initiative in your community. You'll learn how to engage residents, businesses, community groups, and government representatives.

Community Effort Tool

3- ORGANIZE A CANVASS
If you would like to get more involved, you can raise awareness in your community about rail safety through canvassing. We've gathered everything you need to start!

Canvass Strategy

4- VOLUNTEER
From canvassing on your neighbourhood to participating in events, there are many ways you can lend a hand to support Safe Rail Communities. Contact us to get on board and help Safe Rail Communities.

Volunteer with us!

5- SUPPORT US WITH A DONATION
A donation made to support for Safe Rail Communities is support for our unwavering commitment to hold our government to account on this issue of public safety!

Donate today!

6- SPREAD THE WORD
The easiest way to support Safe Rail Communities is to talk to family and friends and share our message through social media. You'll find the links bellow to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Through them, you'll be up to date on the latest news, our activities and accomplishments! You can also share our electronic brochure.

Share our Brochure

Remember, we're here to support you and work as a community. So you can always feel free to contact us with any question or suggestion.

Happy Rail Safety Week!

Keep it safe,

Safe Rail Communities' Team

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February 29, 2016

Hello Everyone,

With the lengthening days, we have happily found more time to update you on our activity of the past few months.

It’s been more than two-and-half years since the explosive rail tragedy in Lac-Mégantic that took 47 lives, but sadly, meaningful change to ensure safe, transparent, and regulated rail in our country has not yet occurred.  Safe Rail Communities is committed to this national issue of public safety.  We invite you to find out more about our work at www.saferail.ca, and to contribute to this important cause in one of several ways, including making a donation and signing our new federal e-petition here.

We look forward to warmer weather, sharing our information with local rail communities, and seeing you at one of our upcoming events, which we will be sure to share through our website and our social media platforms.

Here is a brief summary of current efforts:

1. Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests

On behalf of Safe Rail Communities (SRC), our lawyer Charles Hatt (Ecojustice) submitted 5 ATIP requests in July 2015.  These requests were related to transparency of risk and the public’s right to know.  We are receiving responses from Transport Canada at a snail’s pace, and updating our website accordingly.

Transport Canada's culture of secrecy around rail safety is highlighted in a recent CBC investigative report.   SRC co-founder Patricia Lai spoke of our frustration at not being able to get answers about the risks posed to Canadians living in rail communities across the country.  We are taking on all the health and financial risks associated with unsafe and unregulated rail, yet have no information about what these risks are!  Safe Rail Communities has submitted a letter of complaint to the Information Commissioner through our lawyer, Charles Hatt (Ecojustice).

2.  Joint Letter to Minister Garneau

With support from a network of organizations across the country, we sent to Minister Garneau last month a letter requesting a meeting to discuss this important issue.

SRC Joint Letter Minister Garneau

SRC Lettre Conjointe Monsieur Garneau

3.  SRC’s first federal e-petition

With the federal government’s recent implementation of online e-petitions, we have created our first online rail safety e-petition, supported by our MP, Arif Virani.  Many of you have already signed our paper petition, and for this we thank you.  Signing our paper petition doesn’t preclude you from signing our online petition, which is a completely new petition.  To be presented in the House of Commons, our e-petition must receive 500 signatories within 120 days of it being posted on the government website.  We would very much appreciate your support in promoting our e-petition by sharing it with your family, friends, and any other interested contacts.

Please click here to read and/or sign our petition. Pour la version française, veuillez cliquer ici

4. Results of Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) submission for expansion of the Hardisty Oil Terminal in Alberta

Thanks to everyone who submitted comments to the CEAA on this important development.  On December 23, 2015, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency decided that a federal environmental assessment is required for the Hardisty Rail Terminal Project pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).

In making this determination, the CEAA considered the following factors as indicated in section 10 of CEAA 2012:

  • the description of the project provided by the proponent (USD Terminals Canada) on October 28, 2015;
  • the possibility that the carrying out of the project may cause adverse environmental effects; and,
  • Aboriginal groups' comments and public comments received within the 20-day comment period.

USD Terminals Canada no longer intends to carry out the project as described in the Project description, but we will be watching closely to see if anything new develops.

5. Air quality testing in the Junction (west Toronto)

Over the next few months, Safe Rail Communities and Green 13 (www.green13toronto.org) will be working with students from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (University of Toronto) on an air quality monitoring project in the Junction.   This study will be led by Prof. Marianne Hatzopoulou (http://uttri.utoronto.ca/people/marianne-hatzopoulou/)

Given the concern about trains idling by the Vine Ave. Parkette, we have identified the park as a priority spot for air quality monitoring.   We are presently seeking residents who live within the vicinity of the park to help us with:

  • recording and reporting the time periods when idling seems most prevalent
  • meeting with the U of T students (likely in a community meeting format; possibly at Annette library).  More details will follow.

Please let us know if you are interested in participating in this exciting project.

Thanks

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November 23, 2015

Hello Everyone,

We hope you have been enjoying the unseasonably warm fall weather.

It’s been a couple of months since our last update, but rest assured that Safe Rail Communities has not been idle!

·        The federal election campaign was exhausting for us all, and the surprise results of the October 19th left us with a new majority Liberal government.  We are particularly disappointed to have lost our own MP, Peggy Nash, who was such a strong advocate of our work and that of many important organizations in our community.  Peggy will be greatly missed.  We deeply thank her and her team for all of their encouragement and support.  We have sent letters of congratulations to our new MP, Arif Virani, as well as to Minister Chrystia Freeland, both of whom have supported our work for some time.

o   Once Prime Minister Trudeau announced his cabinet on Wednesday November 4th, Safe Rail Communities also quickly sent off letters of introduction to the new ministers of Transport (Marc Garneau) and of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (Ralph Goodale).  We look forward to working closely with these new ministers on the important file of rail safety.

·        Since late October, we have received from Transport Canada a response to only one of the 5 Access to Information requests we submitted in July via our lawyer (Ecojustice).  Our requests relate to railway risk assessments, railway emergency response plans, cost data related to insurance minimums set out in Bill C-52, and scientific test results of crude oil properties.  The response we received in October related to railway risk assessments, and we are not satisfied with the exemptions identified.  We do not feel that the stated exemptions actually apply to our request.  We will not give up, and will be drafting a letter of complaint to the Information Commissioner.

·        In mid-November, we participated in the first continental Oil Train Response conference in Pittsburgh, PA.   The 3-day gathering was a terrific opportunity to connect with 150 people across Canada and the U.S., all working in some way on this issue.  A huge thank you to Forest Ethics for hosting this awesome event, during which Safe Rail Communities committed to working directly on two action items to help the network move forward together.  Stay tuned for more on this. 

·        Through one of the expert panelists at our June and August town halls, Dr. Ali Asgary, we have become aware of some possible academic funding through the Networks of Centres of Excellence.  We attended an information session on this funding at York University’s Centre for Research and Innovation, and feel that this funding would be a good fit for Safe Rail Communities.  The funding would allow us to share research and knowledge with communities across Canada.  It also invites applicants to include other groups who would like to participate in this ‘knowledge mobilization’.  Please stay tuned for more details on this exciting news.

Thank you!

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September 25, 2015

Hello everyone,

We just wanted to send you a quick update:

  1. In August 31, 2015, Safe Rail Communities submitted to each of the four main federal parties, a letter requesting a clear plan with specific steps that each party will take to address the important issue of the transportation by rail of dangerous goods through our communities.  Our letter also outlined all of our recommendations on this issue.  You can read our letter here

    The goal of this letter was to publicly share each party’s plan on this issue, and offer Canadians the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. 

    Safe Rail Communities is a non-partisan organization, and does not endorse any political party.

    As of September 24th, we have received responses from the Green Party, the Liberal Party of Canada, and the NDP.  The Conservatives have confirmed receipt of our letter of August 31st, but have not yet submitted a response.  We will share any forthcoming information. Please see attached responses from the federal parties.

  2. Our questions for the candidate are now available in French. You can read these here or visit our website at www.saferail.ca

Green Party of Canada Response to SRC letter

Liberal Party of Canada Response to SRC letter

New Democratic Party of Canada Response to SRC Letter

Thank you!

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Augutst 24, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer. 

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported our Canada-Wide Campaign, and to provide everyone with an update.  

Safe Rail Communities has had a very busy few weeks, preparing for our second town hall and second family fundraiser.  We’ve been connecting with, and providing resources and supports, to more communities and residents across Canada.   Locally in the Greater Toronto Area, we’ve been canvassing and delivering our brochures (Burlington, Etobicoke, Scarborough and Downtown Toronto). 

With our town hall and family fundraiser behind us, we are now ready to focus all our efforts on our National Campaign in the lead-up to the Federal Election.  This week, we will be drafting a letter addressed to each of the three main party leaders.  This letter will ask each leader to clearly outline the actions they will take to:

  • make the transportation of dangerous goods by rail as safe as possible

  • improve the quality of life for those who live along the rail line (including air quality, noise and vibration issues)

We would also like to expand on our brochure campaign.   With the generous support of concerned Canadians, we have raised $1190 to date.   This money has been directed to the printing costs of our brochure. 

We continue to hand deliver brochures to households in the Toronto area.  The more money we raise, the more communities we can reach.   In the upcoming weeks, and with your support, we hope to reach neighbourhoods to the North, East, and West of Toronto that are within a 90-minute drive from Toronto.  This will continue to be our strategy until we reach a total of $5000 raised.  Any money raised above $5000 will be directed towards Canada Post mail-outs to areas outside our 90-minute drive radius around Toronto.

Safe Rail Communities is committed to this work, on behalf of everyone who lives, works, and plays in rail communities across Canada.  We have worked on this issue non-stop over the last year and a half.  However, hard work can only get us so far.   Financial support is vital for us to reach as many people as possible.  This crowd funding effort is an opportunity for every Canadian to contribute to our efforts, raise awareness on this important national issue, and share with more Canadians how we can all stand up for safe, transparent, and regulated rail.  

Thank you!

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August 6, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Based on the huge response and support we received at our first town hall on rail safety in mid-June, Safe Rail Communities is pleased to announce our second town hall on Friday, August 21st, 2015.

We will be joined by a panel of experts who will begin with a simulation of a crude oil derailment in densely populated Toronto, and proceed to review why this crude oil is so dangerous, how we can make its transportation by rail safer, and what consequences a derailment has on our environment.

Safe Rail Communities has been sharing information, and pressing government and industry for meaningful action since March 2014.   You can find out more about our work here.

Please find attached our event poster with further details.  Pleasehelp us promote the town hall by sharing this information with as many people as possible.   

We look forward to seeing youAugust 21!

Thank you!

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July 27, 2015

Hello Everyone,

Safe Rail Communities' national crowd funding initiative has launched! 

With your support, we can raise awareness, share concerns on this issue, and demonstrate that public safety is a priority for us all, and should be for our federal government as well.

Most Canadians know that on July 6th, 2013, an explosive derailment of volatile crude oil devastated the small community of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

While this tragic event has been many times deemed a wake-up call, the numerous derailments that have occurred in the wake of that tragic day demonstrate that not enough has been done to ensure public safety.

Safe Rail Communities has been sharing information, and pressing government and industry for meaningful action since March 2014.  You can find out more about our work here

We are committed to this issue, and to reaching as many Canadians as possible.  This year, we produced a brochure that outlines our concerns, recommendations, and ways that ordinary Canadians like ourselves can make a difference on this issue.  With your support, Safe Rail Communities aims to raise $12,000 to print and distribute our brochure so that Canadians who live, work, and play in rail communities across the country can make an informed decision when they go to the polls in a few months.

Please add your voice to ours on this important issue, and stand up for Safe, Transparent, and Regulated rail. 

You can learn more about this campaign and make a donation here.

Thank you!!

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April 26, 2015

Hello everyone,

Hope you've all had a chance to get out and enjoy some of this lovely weather.

Now that the weather has started to warm up, Safe Rail Communities will turn our focus on the canvass portion of our campaign in the lead up to the federal election.  It is vital  that we reach as many communities as possible across Toronto and the GTA.  As part of our canvassing effort, we will be focusing on a number of neighbourhoods across the GTA.  Please let us know if you are interested in helping us by;

-volunteering to canvass with us in our priority neighbourhoods. Our initial focus will be the city of Toronto. We will eventually be canvassing throughout the GTA as well.

-taking the lead in your own neighbourhood by becoming a neighbourhood captain. We will offer you all the support you need if you decide that this is something you can take on.

Canvassing is a time consuming effort but is extremely effective in getting the word out to those who are most affected. The more people we have volunteering with us, the more effective our campaign will be.  Please reply to this email if you are interested in helping out. If you are interested we will send you a separate email with more information on our canvassing effort.

We would also appreciate any help us identifyingevents in your neighbourhood that you feel Safe Rail Communities could benefit from being part of. Along with attending events, SRC will also be hosting a few of our own events; our fundraiser on June 2 and our public town hall on June 12. We'll be in touch with details shortly.

On the national level Safe Rail Communities have also just been invited to appear next Tuesday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities.  We will be in good company that day, testifying on Bill C-52 (Safe and Accountable Rail Act) along with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Freight Management Association of Canada, and the Canadian Transportation Agency. We'll keep you all posted on how this goes!

Thank you!

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April 2, 2015

Hello from Safe Rail Communities!

Bill C-52: the Safe and Accountable Rail Act had its second reading in the House of Commons on March 31, 2015. 

Why should we be concerned?

While Bill C-52 is being debated in the House of Commons, Safe Rail Communities believes that there are other more urgent actions that we can take to prevent another disaster on the scale of the 2013 Lac Mégantic tragedy.  Our MP, Peggy Nash (Parkdale – High Park) has heard our concerns and speaks to them during the second reading of Bill C-52 (at the 6 minute mark).

https://youtu.be/w5z63-EWPeQ?list=UUB0maWTv7C1bQaLxLeB6zLg

We are doing our best to prevent another Lac-Mégantic tragedy, one that was confirmed by the Quebec coroner as ‘avoidable’.  We can all be part of the solution.  Speak to your MP, voice your concern, and sign our petition or create your own.  Only 25 signatures are required on a petition before your MP can present it in the House.

Visit us at www.saferail.ca, join the discussion on our FB page, or follow us on Twitter. 

Thank you!

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February 27, 2015

Hi everyone,

 On Friday, February 20th, Minister Raitt made an important announcement regarding new legislation related to rail safety.

While this is a step in the right direction, Safe Rail Communities has a few questions about the numbers…Please listen to this podcast for details about why we're concerned.

http://www.goldhawk.com/2015/02/24/patricia-lai/

This is a national non-partisan issue that deserves a national voice, especially from those of us who live in close proximity to rail lines and every day assume a senseless risk.

Find out more and join the conversation at www.saferail.ca

We are happy to speak to any group of concerned residents. You can reach us at infosaferail@gmail.com

Thank you!

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February 2, 2015

Hello everyone,

We've been very busy working away on  Safe Rail Communities over the last few weeks and thought we would share some recent news with you.

Since our last  update to you on December 5th (TO Star article about the risk assessments on dangerous goods by rail not being released to the public):

1.       Dec 11th: We appeared again on the Dale Goldhawk radio show, this time to discuss the TO Star article above.

2.       Dec 13th: We had an interview with a journalist from the Annex Gleaner.

3.       Dec 29th: We submitted our concerns and recommendations with regards to rail safety to the review panel of the Canada Transportation Act (attached).

4.       Jan 28th: We met with three board members of Residents Associations in Toronto Centre and Rosedale to discuss the beginnings of a GTA-wide coalition on rail safety.

5.       Jan 21st & 30th: We had a photo session and interviews with a journalist from the Vancouver Observer.

6.       Jan 29th: We submitted our environmental petition through the Auditor General’s Act (attached).

Of course, SRC continues to do a lot (!) of research, communication with other like-minded groups/individuals in Canada and the US, and letter-writing to raise awareness and seek answers on this issue.  This is an election year, and a prime opportunity to get some action on this dangerous situation.  We do not wish to witness another Lac-Mégantic or lose any more lives, but the government seems prepared to wait for another disaster before taking any action, even on promises already made.  While Minister Raitt has promised again and again that she is committed to rail safety and preventing another Lac-Mégantic, the rail safety budget has been cut by over 20% in the last 5 years.  And the increase in the number of tanks of crude oil is expected to continue to increase exponentially.....

Safe Rail Communities is preparing for its spring campaign, and we have completed our second petition (attached).  The Minister has 90 days to formally respond, and we would like some answers before the House rises for summer break.  Also attached is our new one-pager to accompany the petition when we start canvassing.  Before the snow thaws, we want to submit our first 25 signatures.  This is all it takes for our MP, Peggy Nash, to present the petition in the House.  We have attached our latest paper petition. Just in case anyone feels ambitious and would like to collect signatures.  If you do collect signatures, Please return to Peggy Nash's office (1596 Bloor street west) or send us an email and we'd be happy to come by and pick it up.

We collected over 400 signatures on our first petition, and we need a lot more to get Minister Raitt to act, something like 10,000.  This is where we believe the coalition comes in.  We’ve had good response to our outreach to GTA RAs so far, and we will be having our first official meeting on Feb 11th.

Helen and I are also planning a fundraiser in April.  We need funds to print posters for shop windows along the rail line.  We will be reaching out to BIAs shortly.  If you have any talent in this area, we gladly welcome your contribution and time.

There is much more that I could add, but I will leave you with this for now.  You can find more at www.saferail.ca, and please Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saferail where you can find up-to-date news.  As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

If you would like to be removed from our email distribution list, please send us a quick email requesting to be removed.

Thanks for your continued support!

Patricia & Helen

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November 12, 2014

Hello everyone,

Our latest efforts got some media coverage and a radio interview request early this morning as a result.....
 
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/11/11/rail_carriers_keep_emergency_response_plans_secret_from_residents.html
 
http://www.zoomerradio.ca/podcast-goldhawk-fights-back/gfb-podcast-helen-vassilakow-november-12th/
 
We are currently working on an environmental petition through the Auditor General's Act.  This vehicle may allow us to get some answers regarding the real dangers of so many hazardous materials passing through our communities.   Since Transport Canada has not responded to any of our attempts to gather basic information, we may be able to get the Auditor General on board to add some pressure.
 
Keep spreading the word....and you can refer people to our Safe Rail Communities FB page for current info.  We cannot assume that the government will take care of us and look out for our well-being when for 20 years the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been saying that the rail cars used to transport crude oil are unsafe.....

We'd also like to remind you all that the deadline for submitting comments to the
 Canada Transportation Act Review Secretariat is December 30. SRC will be submitting comments but we need as many people as possible to do so as well.  Our strength will be in our numbers. We need to have a strong voice going forward.  Here are some links with information on the submission process.

http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/ctareview2014/canada-transportation-act-review.html

http://railandreason.com/2014/09/23/federal-government-launches-review-of-canada-transportation-act/

We have phoned and emailed the secretariat asking whether we can submit comment via email but have yet to hear back. We will let you know as soon as we have a response.

Thank you!

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August 22, 2014

Hello everyone,

Hope you've all enjoyed your summer. As you may already be aware ,on August 19 the Transportation Safety Board of Canada  released its final report on the July 2013 disaster in Lac Megantic.  In total, they identified 18 factors that contributed to the tragedy.  If any one of the factors had been addressed, the death of 47 people could have been prevented.  Factors such as excessive speed and large car loads of crude were listed.
SRC (Safe Rail Communities) has remained active over the summer months, raising awareness on the issue of rail safety.  We continue to canvass within our riding, attend community events, and reach out to media and other like-minded organizations.  If you would like to volunteer with us, please let us know.

Our MP, Peggy Nash, and her team have continued to work on this issue as well.  They have set a date for a community meeting on rail safety.   After initially declining, CP Rail has finally agreed to participate.  While Transport Canada has not yet responded positively to numerous requests to participate, Peggy continues to invite them.
Please see the attached flyer containing details about the meeting.  Peggy's team will be postering in neighbourhoods along the tracks, but please pass on the info to your family and friends along the rail line. You will have an opportunity to ask question on any rail issues you may have concerns about.

Thanks so much, and hope to see you at the meeting!

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June 16, 2014

Hello,

Our efforts with Safe Rail Communities have not gone unnoticed.  Jessica McDiarmid contacted us last week for a quote on this latest news concerning rail safety.  See story below.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/06/15/battle_over_rail_secrecy_intensifies.html

In other news from last week, we wrote two letters, one to the Senate Standing Committee on National Finance, and one to Minister Lisa Raitt (Minister of Transport).  
 
With the first letter, we wanted to draw the Senate's attention to a couple of items in the huge 400+ page omnibus bill currently before them (Bill C31).  This bill would repeal sections of both the Railway Safety Act and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.  All affected sections relate to the publication of proposed regulation changes.  In effect, Bill C31 would remove the government's obligation to make public any changes to regulations governing railway safety or the transportation of dangerous goods.   Currently, proposed changes must be published in the Canada Gazette, and the public is given 90 days to comment on these.   We received confirmation that our letter ot the Senate was received, and we will be following the bill's progress in the Senate.
 
With the second letter, we hoped to convince Minister Raitt that there is a call in our riding for more information regarding recent changes to rail safety.  Peggy Nash's office submitted our letter in conjunction with one from Peggy.  Previous attempts by Peggy's office to get a community meeting organized on this subject were not successful, but we will continue to pursue this important meeting.
 
Safe Rail Communities will have a table at the Junction's Summer Solstice this Saturday from noon to 9 pm.  If you're out and about, please stop by and check out our table!  And please tell your family friends!  We'll be continuing to raise awareness on this issue and we'll be collecting signatures for our federal petition.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

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May 31, 2014

Hello!

Thank you for supporting Safe Rail Communities.

This last week of May has been very busy for SRC.

Early in the week, we submitted a comment to city council's Executive Committee on a report regarding dangerous railway cargo and measures to improve community safety.  You can find details here.

This weekend, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is hosting their Annual Conference in Niagara Falls.  One of today's workshops is entitled, "Rail Safety - How Collaborative Advocacy is Making Communities Safer".  One of the speakers for this workshop is Collette Roy-Laroche, mayor of Lac Megantic. 

After learning that Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and eight other city councillors are attending this conference, SRC sent an e-mail to Norm Kelly and all councillors in wards along the CP rail corridor to let them know how important we think this workshop on rail safety is for Torontonians.  We encouraged them to attend on our behalf.  We also acknowledged efforts by certain councillors to keep rail safety on the agenda at city council.  Of particular note is a rail safety community group led by Josh Matlow who this week met with local MPs and CP officials.  We asked the Deputy Mayor to consider a larger working group that would include all communities in Toronto along the rail corridor.  After all, any accident, spill, explosion, or derailment would have an impact on all residents.

Finally, as you may know, SRC also has an active federal petition, supported by Peggy Nash.  SRC continues to canvass regularly for this petition.  This week during question period, Peggy had this comment for the Transport Minister.

Thanks again for your support on this important issue of rail safety.  While it is a federal matter, the railways run through our communities where we live, work, and play.  We must remind our local politicians to speak up for us and for our safety.

Please consider asking your friends and family to sign our online municipal petition.  Every signature reminds our city councillors that we are still asking for their support.  For more information about our federal petition which requires signatures on paper, please visit our website at saferail.ca

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April 9, 2014

Hello everyone,

We've been very busy the last few weeks and are pleased to provide this update on the Safe Rail Communities initiative:

Safe Rail Communities (SRC) is a community-based initiative, advocating for greater transparency and safeguards with respect to the transportation of hazardous materials along rail lines throughout Canada.  Come out to learn more and sign our federal petition at the Junction Commons Town Hall on Wednesday, April 16 (7pm- 9pm) at the Masonic Temple, 151 Annette Street.  For more information visit www.saferail.ca (still in the works), www.facebook.com/saferail, twitter@safe_rail or email us at infosaferail@gmail.com. Our on-line petition to the city of Toronto is also up and running;  http://www.change.org/.../toronto-city-councillors-meet...