Let’s Talk: Amendments to the Railway Safety Act in Bill C-33

Current status: Closed

Open on May, 23, 2023 and will be closed on June, 30, 2024

An efficient and resilient supply chain is key to growing Canada’s economic capacity and productivity. The changes proposed in Bill C-33 to improve the port system and railway safety would modernize the way Canada’s marine and rail transportation systems operate and remove systemic barriers.

Bill C-33 – Strengthening the Port System and Railway Safety in Canada Act was tabled in November 2022 and is moving through Parliament now.

The bill would amend several acts to improve Canada’s port system, marine security, and rail safety and security. It addresses issues identified in our Ports Modernization Review (completed in 2022), the Railway Safety Act Review (completed in 2018) and makes changes to modernize the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992.

The goal of the proposed changes to the Railway Safety Act is to modernize how we oversee railway safety and security, and address gaps and emerging challenges. These changes would give rail companies new tools that would help them stay competitive, efficient, and sustainable, and make Canada’s supply chains more resilient.

The changes proposed about railway safety and security are based on the recommendations from the 2018 Report of the Railway Safety Act Review Panel. The panel was asked to review the act and its ability to ensure rail safety and serve the best interests of the people and businesses impacted by Canada’s railway system.

The bill includes five key changes that relate to rail safety. The bill would:

  • allow Transport Canada to seek input on proposed rule submissions during the rule making process from groups outside the railway industry. These could include local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, organizations, and governments
  • ensure that companies provide all data and information that Transport Canada needs to quickly assess an exemption (a different way of complying with the regulations)
  • streamline the process to amend, renew, or cancel existing exemptions
  • introduce legally binding agreements between companies and Transport Canada, as a way of encouraging compliance with the Railway Safety Act
  • require a review of the Railway Safety Act every five years

The bill also includes four key changes that relate to rail security. The bill would:

  • expand the definition of “safety” to include security so that we could use existing powers and tools to deal with emerging security concerns
  • allow Transport Canada to require companies to develop and apply a formal framework for including security into day-to-day operations (like a security management system)
  • allow Transport Canada to grant, refuse to grant, cancel or suspend transportation security clearances to the rail industry
  • ban interference with railway works, railway equipment and railway operations, including dangerous and rowdy behaviour on board trains and at stations

Join in: how to participate

  • Register at Let’s Talk Transportation
  • Answer the survey to have your say on which amendments are important to you and/or your community
  • Answer any discussion questions that interest and/or apply to you, or upload a document through the Submissions tab
  • Send us your comments via email to tc.Railsafety-Securiteferroviaire.tc@tc.gc.ca and include “amendments to the Railway Safety Act in Bill C33” in the subject line.

Funding is available until March 2024 to help local and Indigenous communities and organizations participate in this consultation.

Who is the focus of this consultation

Transport Canada wants to hear from people and communities that are interested in these changes, or would be impacted by them, especially Indigenous communities and organizations.

Key questions for discussion

  • How does your community, organization, or government want to be involved in rail safety?
  • Do you see any important benefits or risks to the proposed amendments? If so, what are they, and why are they important?
  • If the bill passes, how would your community, organization, or government like to be consulted on implementing the changes and next steps?

Contact us

Transport Canada
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks St.
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5
tc.Railsafety-Securiteferroviaire.tc@tc.gc.ca (Rail safety)
marinesafety-securitemaritime@tc.gc.ca (Marine Safety)
tdg-tmd@tc.gc.ca (Transportation of Dangerous Goods)