Intermodal Surface Security and Emergency Preparedness – Oversight Program Description and Delivery, Fiscal Year 2022-23

Table of contents

  1. 1. Overview of the program, operating context and environment
  2. 2. Considerations and drivers for oversight activities priorities
  3. 3. Oversight delivery in 2022-23
  4. 4. Organizational contact information
  5. Annex A: Definitions

1. Overview of the program, operating context and environment

Transport Canada's Intermodal Surface, Security and Emergency Preparedness Directorate has 2 oversight programs:

  1. the Transportation Security Clearance program and
  2. the Intermodal Surface Security Oversight Program

The Security Screening Programs Branch carries out the Transportation Security Clearance program's regulatory authorizations on people who have access to restricted areas of airports/marine ports or do specific types of work. These authorizations determine whether a person is a security risk to transportation.

The Intermodal Surface Security Oversight Program works with stakeholders to improve the security of Canada's intermodal and surface transportation systems. It focuses on the security of Canada's passenger and freight railways, urban transit, and international bridges and tunnels.

The Intermodal Surface Security Oversight Program prioritizes inspections using a risk-based process, which helps to determine where and how best to use resources. This risk-based approach is especially valuable since the program has limited resources.

The Intermodal Surface Security Oversight Program is guided by:

  • the Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Rail Security Regulations
  • the Passenger Rail Transportation Security Regulations
  • the Memorandum of Understanding between Transport Canada and the Railway Association of Canada; and,
  • the Memoranda of Understanding between Transport Canada and owners and operators of international bridges and tunnels

Program work includes:

  • reviewing security plans, risk assessments and other related matters
  • inspecting railway sites and facilities that fall under the regulations and the memoranda of understanding to make sure they comply with the regulations; and

inspecting international bridges and tunnels to make sure they are following the requirement in the memoranda of understanding they have signed

Key changes in the external operating environment

Canada, along with the rest of the world, started experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fourth quarter of 2019-20. The effects have continued throughout 2020-21 and 2021-22, and into 2022-23. The pandemic forced the program to change the way we plan and do inspections. However, effects are expected to be milder in 2022-23. This should result in Intermodal Surface Security Oversight being able to conduct increased oversight activities relative to the 2021-22 oversight period.

During lockdowns and travel restrictions, staff mainly focused on inspections that could be done without going on to railway sites and facilities. With the administration of COVID-19 vaccines across Canada, restrictions are easing. This will allow for more on-site inspections where possible, with proper personal protective equipment and training.

2. Considerations and drivers for oversight activities priorities

A key driver for the Transportation Screening Clearance program was the state of the transportation industry. The pandemic initially resulted in fewer requests for regulatory authorizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced travel. However, since the third quarter of 2021-22 the volume of regulatory authorization requests received is higher than pre-pandemic levels.

In general, the Intermodal Surface Security Oversight Program plans inspections in a way that maximizes efficiency and limits travel costs. For example, inspectors visit multiple sites or facilities per trip, or drive fleet vehicles instead of flying.

With the effects of the pandemic continuing into 2022, planning inspections has been a challenge. Based on this reality, the directorate created flexible plans that will be adjusted as needed.
The drivers for the Intermodal Surface Security Oversight Program inspections are:

  • the level of security risks associated with railway operations
  • 2 new security regulations, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Rail Security Regulations and the Passenger Rail Transportation Security Regulations
  • our agreements with the Railway Association of Canada and the owners and operators of bridges and tunnels that cross into the U.S.

As the new security regulations have been phased-in over the last 3 years, the program has had to adapt. New inspections are introduced with each phase, and the program must inspect certain items based on both sets of regulations.

3. Oversight delivery in 2022-23

The delivery of oversight activities, such as planned risk-based inspections and reactive inspections, will be reported through the Canadian Center for Transportation Data (CCTD).

4. Organizational contact information

Transport Canada welcomes your comments on this report.

Email: for information on our security screening programs.

Email: for information on our intermodal surface security oversight programs.

Link to summary data on CCTD site: CCTD-ISEEP

Annex A: Definitions

Required Field Description
Oversight How Transport Canada promotes, monitors or enforces compliance with our safety and security requirements.
Regulatory authorizations Given when a regulated party (for example, a railway company or vehicle manufacturer) applies for permission to do a regulated activity, or be exempt from it. We may give permission in various forms, including a permit, licence or certification. Transport Canada does not control the number of regulatory authorizations per planning cycle.

A documented, formal examination of industry compliance with Canadian transportation safety and security rules, regulations and requirements. Authorized Transport Canada officials record the results of each inspection. For the purposes of this document, audits are a type of inspection.

*Includes pre-site, onsite, and post-site inspection and oversight activities. Is complete when the inspector submits an approved inspection or oversight activities report. Does not include follow-up action, quality control checks or outreach activities.

Planned, risk-based inspections

All inspections Transport Canada initially commits to doing in a given planning cycle. The SO3 Management Board may authorize updates as needed.

*Include inspections that are announced (and expected), and those that are unannounced. Does not include:

  • estimated numbers of demand-driven activities, such as regulatory authorizations
  • “reactive” or “opportunity” inspections that happen because of a change in oversight
Follow-up activities

Arise from findings of an initial inspection. May include an on-site inspection, requests for more information, or enhanced monitoring.

*Do not include enforcement.

Other activities Oversight activities that Transport Canada did not initially commit to in a planning cycle, and are not a follow-up to an inspection or audit.

Measures we use to enforce requirements and compel compliance. For example:

  • letters of non-compliance
  • directions or orders
  • ticketing
  • notices of violation
  • administrative monetary penalties
  • prosecutions
  • suspensions or cancellations of certificates or authorizations
Education, outreach and awareness How we educate the public, and encourage people and companies to comply with the law (for example: industry conferences, air shows, training, web portal)
Quality control

How we ensure inspectors follow policies and procedures, and complete required documentation. Applies to an entire oversight activity, from inspection, to follow-up, to resolving non-compliance. Supervisors and managers are responsible for quality control.

Each program must have:

  • a documented, nationally consistent way of doing quality control
  • a procedure or set of procedures to ensure inspections follow approved standard operating procedures