The goal of Transport Canada’s recent consultation was to engage stakeholders and the public on proposed changes the Grade Crossings Regulations. Stakeholders submitted their feedback on the proposed regulations changes via the Let’s Talk Transportation platform/website and by email.
The consultation was held between January 4 and February 3, 2021, and focused on two questions:
- Do you support helping public and private grade crossing owners by changing the Grade Crossings Regulations so that very low-risk crossings don’t need to meet some of the requirements of the regulations?
- Given the amount of work left to do on grade crossings, do you support helping public and private grade crossing owners by extending the deadline to comply with the requirements of the Grade Crossings Regulations? These extensions would use a risk-based approach.
We received 40 responses through the Let’s Talk Transportation website, and 25 responses were letters or emails.
Comments on the overall approach
- All comments supported Transport Canada’s approach to updating the Grade Crossings Regulations.
- Stakeholders wanted to be informed of any updates to the regulations and added that they were willing to participate in future consultations.
- Both public road authorities and private landowners had concerns over the potential costs of upgrades required to satisfy the Grade Crossings Regulations.
- Road authorities and private landowners felt that communicating and working with railway companies and Transport Canada would be a key factor in the success of the implementation of the regulations.
- Road authorities felt that there’s a need for a funding mechanism due to existing financial restraints and the economic slowdown of COVID-19.
- Stakeholders were worried about further delays due to COVID-19.
The comments we received confirm that stakeholders support this project. Stakeholders also agreed that there’s a need to extend the compliance deadline using a risk-based approach while making sure crossings where the risk is minimal are not required to absorb unnecessary costs.
Transport Canada has found that some of the other issues raised in this consultation should be dealt with by educating, communicating and working with stakeholders.
In mid-2021, Transport Canada will pre-publish proposed changes to the regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I. When published, comments may be sent to TC.RailSafetyConsultations-ConsultationSecuriteFerroviaire.TC@tc.gc.ca during the 30-day comment period.
Transport Canada will continue to develop tools to address issues and promote safety at grade crossings in Canada.