On this page
- Inspection cycle
- Inspection activities, results and statistics
- Contact information
The Rail Safety Program helps make sure that rail companies operating in Canada comply with the Railway Safety Act, and any related regulations and standards. The program meets this goal mostly through inspections and audits. The program also makes sure that companies follow the safety-related parts of the International Bridges and Tunnels Act.
The oversight program:
- promotes compliance and safety
- monitors compliance and safety, and
- enforces compliance, and manages threats to safety
In 2019-20, the program:
- inspections and follow-up visits
- enforcement actions
- notices and orders
- site visits after incidents
- met with the railways
- responded to questions and complaints, and
- reviewed and analysed data
The branch does a combination of both planned and reactive inspections.
Each year, inspections are planned through a risk-based process. The business planning process starts with a historical review and analysis of information like program priorities, past inspection and audit reports, enforcement actions, and external data like information on commodities and data from the Transportation Safety Board on incidents, accidents and fatalities.
Every year this process results helps us decide what type of inspection each site receives:
- Component A – planned inspections that check whether a site complies with Canadian regulations, and looks for potential safety threats. Inspection sites are randomly chosen.
- Component B – planned inspections that deal with safety and program management issues. Inspection sites are chosen based on risks identified in the business planning phase.
- Component C – unplanned inspections that focus on emerging issues, or follow-up or opportunity inspections. Opportunity inspections are generally the result of a planned inspection (either Type A or B) to a remote location. While on-site, other inspections can be completed as time allows. Follow-up inspections are done, as needed, to check that issues have been dealt with and corrected.
In 2019-20, the program focused on:
- main track and non-main track derailments
- movements that exceed the limits of authority
- blocked crossings
- uncontrolled movements
- issues with railway equipment, and
Inspection activities, results and statistics
In 2019-20, the branch completed 40,581 inspections, or about 110% of planned inspections.
|Actuals Inspections||Equipment||Operations||OHS||Signals||Crossings||Track||Bridges||Culverts||Natural Hazards||International Bridges and Tunnels||Audits||Totals|
|Prairie and Northern||384||2660||1137||60||159||264||0||4||106||83||74||22||90||1011||118||1156||3546||951||40||0||0||60||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||11925|
In 2019-20, there were 1,184 rail accidents in Canada. The number of Type B inspections has doubled since 2016-17 due improvements in our business planning process. Overall, 64% of all accidents were due to derailments, trespassing accidents or crossing accidents.
|Cause of accidentFootnote 1||Number of accidents||%|
Despite many challenges in 2019-20, the Rail Safety branch successfully completed our National Oversight Plan. 2019-20 saw a number of notable events that affected rail transportation in Canada:
- Railway blockades, which started on February 6, affected the transportation system
- CN Rail was forced to shut down its eastern network with major consequences for multiple economy sectors, as freight and passenger trips stopped
- Inspections were adjusted to deal with issues related to the strike and blockades
- In the first few weeks of Canada’s first COVID-19 lockdown, inspections were done on an emergency basis. As the pandemic continued, the branch adapted and on-site inspections and activities resumed in June 2020
Please email your questions or comments about this report to: firstname.lastname@example.org.