Background document: Proposed amendments to the Contraventions Regulations, Schedule X

One of Transport Canada’s key responsibilities is to oversee the safety and security of rail transportation in Canada. The department also creates, updates and enforces laws, regulations, policies and oversight activities related to rail safety and security.

Despite the many mechanisms already in place, Canada’s railway system is still a target for attacks and illegal interference. Because of this, it is important to continue strengthening the security program in order to deal with gaps and emerging security concerns. Canada’s rail security regime is facing a number of overlapping issues, with the most crucial being increasing levels of trespassing and other interference with Canada’s railway infrastructure. A key tool to help address this issue would be an increase in fines under the Contraventions Regulations to effectively curb trespassing and actions that impede the safe flow of trains.


Illegal interference with railway property (e.g., trains, railway equipment, rail lines, rail crossings, and stations), systems (e.g., the structures and systems that help the railways operate safely), and infrastructure (e.g., rail lines, rail crossings, stations or tunnels) can impact public safety, the environment, and the economy.

These incidents can affect the safety of the travelling public, critical infrastructure, surrounding neighbourhoods, railway staff and even the people interfering with the railways. Because of this, it is important that the Government takes steps to enhance the protection of Canada’s rail infrastructure.

The Government’s proposal

The Government of Canada wants to increase the fine amounts under Schedule X of the Contraventions Regulations that are related to trespassing and to actions that obstruct the safe flow of trains. The objective is to have the fines serve as a more effective deterrent and consequently, to enhance the safety and security of the rail system, the employees and passengers of the trains and the surrounding communities. Schedule X of the Contraventions Regulations outlines fines for offences under the Railway Safety Act:

  • Section 26.1: Enter on land on which a line work is situated (current fine $100, set in 1998), and
  • Section 26.2: Failure to give way to railway equipment at a road crossing (current fine $150, set in 2006)

As shown by the recent increase in trespassing and other interference on Canada’s rail infrastructure, the existing fine amounts are not high enough to deter those who commit these acts. Transport Canada wants to increase these fines to:

Transport Canada wants to increase these fines to:

  • $500 for violating Section 26.1, and
  • $750 for violating Section 26.2

These increases would help to deter dangerous acts and would bring these fines to a level more consistent with other transport-related fines under the Contraventions Regulations. It should be noted that these two offences are a critical starting point for a person to commit other serious offenses, such as sabotage and tampering.

In order to set these new fines, Transport Canada analyzed various transport-related schedules outlined in the Contraventions Regulations. The proposed fines align with fines for similar acts in other transportation modes. The department also looked at similar provincial penalties.

Violating Section 26.2 results in a higher fine because blocking a rail line is a more serious offence that could lead to a crash or derailment, could cause injury or death and could have a major impact on the surrounding area. For example, someone could receive this fine for placing furniture or barriers on the tracks.

Goals and benefits

It is expected that these changes will help reduce incidents of trespassing and impeding of rail lines and to help strengthen the rail security regime and to achieve the Government’s objective of protecting Canada’s railway infrastructure.


As the proposed changes are only to increase existing fines, the department does not expect this amendment to create any additional costs for businesses, consumers, the public or the Government.