Appearance at TRAN: Supplemental Mandate Letter and on the pre-entry testing requirements


Transportation safety board WATCHLIST 2020

LOCATION: National Capital Region

Issue: The Transportation safety board watchlist

Date: JANUARY 13, 2021


  • Transport Canada is commited to addressing safety issues in Canada’s transportation system, and welcomes the publication of the Transportation Safety Board WatchlistFootnote 1 2020 and its key recommendations.
  • Since the last Watchlist in 2018, Transport Canada has significantly addressed a backlog in past recommendations, and I am pleased to see the Transportation Safety Board recognize these efforts and has removed this issue from the Watchlist.
  • Regarding the newly added safety issue, Transport Canada is taking determined action to implement strict rules to secure trains and reduce the risk of uncontrolled movements of railway equipment. Specifically, on October 8, 2020, we published a Ministerial Order requiring the rail industry to adopt new practices when conducting switching operations to ensure that equipment is properly secured.
  • Transport Canada has also taken concrete action on safety issues identified on previous Watchlists, including publishing the Locomotive Voice and Video Recorder Regulations to provide insight into rail accidents; the new strengthened rules on flight crew fatigue that align with the latest scientific data and international standards; and, new consolidated Marine Navigation Safety Regulations that address important marine safety issues.


  • The safety and security of Canadians and the transportation sector continue to be Transport Canada’s top priorities, and I will be looking carefully at all safety issues raised in the Watchlist to identify further opportunities for improvements in the coming year.


  • The Transportation Safety Board is an independent agency (established through the Canadian Transportation Accident and Safety Board Act) with the mandate to advance safety in air, marine, rail transportation (as well as pipelines). The Board has up to five members, including a chairperson, and is supported by 220 staff led by the Chief Operating Officer.
  • Every two years,  the Transportation Safety Board issues a Watchlist to draw attention to persistent safety issues. The Watchlist is based on Transportation Safety Board investigation reports, safety concerns and Board recommendations.
  • The Transportation Safety Board uses the Watchlist as a call to action. They monitor progress and report publically on progress or perceived lack of by change agents, including Transport Canada. Watchlist recommendations are a subset of all Transportation Safety Board recommendations.
  • On October 29th, 2020, the Transportation Safety Board released the 6th edition of its Watchlist with the following eight safety issues:
  1. Unplanned/Uncontrolled Movement of Rail Equipment (Rail): “Unplanned/uncontrolled movements of rail equipment create high-risk situations that may have catastrophic consequences.”
  2. Safety Management (multimodal): “Some transportation operators are not managing their safety risks effectively, do not have formal safety management processes in place and/or cannot demonstrate that it is working and producing the expected safety improvements.”
  3. Regulatory Surveillance (multimodal): “Regulatory surveillance has not always proven effective at verifying whether operators are, or have become, compliant with regulations and able to manage the safety of their operations.”
  4. Runway Overruns (Aviation): “An aircraft can sometimes depart from the end of the runway surface during landings or rejected takeoffs, therefore posing a risk to people, property, and the environment.”
  5. Risk of Collisions from Runway Incursions (Aviation): “Despite millions of successful takeoffs and landing on Canadian runways, an accident can occur when an aircraft or vehicle incurs upon a runway surface that is actively in use.”
  6. Commercial Fishing Safety (Marine): “Every year, safety deficiencies on board fishing vessels continue to put at risk the lives of thousands of Canadian fish harvesters and the livelihoods of their families and communities.”
  7. Following Railway Signal Indications (Rail): “Train crews may not consistently recognize and follow railway signals. This poses a risk of train collisions or derailments, which can have catastrophic consequences.”
  8. Fatigue Management (multimodal): “In the transportation industry, crews often work long and irregular. Fatigue poses a risk because of its potential to degrade several aspects of human performance.”