Let’s Talk Rail Safety – Safety Culture Policy Statement

Current status: Closed

July 20, 2021 to September 20, 2021

In response to Recommendation 2 of the 2018 Railway Safety Act Review, Transport Canada has developed a Safety Culture Policy Statement.

The proposed policy statement is a 19-page document that defines the term "safety culture" and includes a framework that supports the concept. Both Transport Canada and the rail industry can use it to help better understand the challenges of creating a positive safety culture. It can also help identify things that need to be improved.

Who was the focus of this consultation?

All Canadians are invited to participate in the consultation. Those who may be especially interested in participating include:

  • Railway companies
  • The Rail Association of Canada
  • Rail Unions

Key questions for discussion

Discussion questions:

  1. Do you think the Safety Culture Policy Statement will help improve safety in the industry? Why or why not?
  2. Do you agree with the positive and negative influences described in the Policy Statement for the promotion of a good safety culture framework? Why or why not?

What we heard

Report date: December 22, 2021

The Safety Culture Policy Statement was developed to help railway companies define and understand the positive and challenging aspects that affect safety culture.

The goal of this policy statement is to help the industry create strategies to improve rail safety and improve the effectiveness of the safety management system that they use.

  • On whether the policy statement is a useful way to improve safety in the industry:
    • a few respondents gave skeptical responses
    • some respondents raised issues that related to other areas of rail safety (like operations), rather than the policy statement itself
    • a few respondents suggested that Transport Canada should require rail companies to adopt the Safety Culture Policy Statement
  • On whether respondents agreed with the positive and negative elements in the policy statement as a way of promoting a good safety culture framework:
    • respondents felt that the current framework captures the most important parts of safety culture, and it is similar to the frameworks used by other high hazard industries
    • the use of negative elements is redundant and could be confusing (in that, by improving the positive elements, it also includes improving the negative ones).

Next steps

Transport Canada has reviewed and considered the feedback received through this consultation. We have since revised the policy statement to reflect the feedback received where appropriate.


Related information

Contact us

Transport Canada
Tower C, Place de Ville
330 Sparks St.
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5