Transportation 2030: Safer Transportation

"Safer Transportation" is one theme under Transportation 2030, the Government of Canada's strategic plan for a safe, secure, green, innovative and integrated transportation system.

On this page

Our goal for this theme

To build a safer, more secure transportation system that Canadians trust.

What Canadians told us

In 2016, we consulted Canadians about our transportation system. Here is what they told us about safety:

  • Government and industry should work together so that regulations keep pace with innovation
  • Canada needs to be a leader in harmonizing global standards for safety policies and risk management and assessment
  • The federal government should:
    • consult more with industry before delegations participate in international forums that govern transportation standards
    • work with provinces, territories and their regulatory agencies on new technologies, such as automated vehicles

Where we go from here

To meet our goals for safer transportation, we committed to:

  • speed up our review of the Railway Safety Act to build on our actions on railway safety
  • continue grants and contributions under the Rail Safety Improvement Program to help improve rail safety and reduce injuries and deaths related to rail transportation
  • change the Motor Vehicle Safety Act so we can compel manufacturers to recall defective and unsafe vehicles, and provide for large fines if companies don't comply with the rules
  • provide clear rules and guidance for new automotive technologies, and support the safe testing and use of connected and automated vehicle and shuttles
  • support innovation to improve safety by facilitating and evaluating the development and use of new technologies. For example, we are expanding the use of technology to improve security at airports and we are exploring the use of digital shipping documents for transporting dangerous goods
  • continue our efforts to digitize services for the marine, dangerous goods, drone and motor vehicle safety sectors
  • make sure our actions support work on government priorities, like:
    • the safety of Canadians
    • international partnerships
    • a national innovation agenda

Support in Budget 2017

The budget committed $152 million for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, Transport Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to continue to improve airport security screening operations.

Support in Budget 2018

The budget provided $240.6 million for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to:

  • ensure consistent and effective security screening of travellers
  • add new dedicated screening lanes for U.S. pre-clearance of transborder passengers at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and the Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport

Budget 2018 also provided $3.9 million to support the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act with activities that support a safe, efficient, secure and prosperous transportation system, including:

  • improving our ability to investigate and recall defects
  • overseeing and enforcing motor vehicle safety, and
  • supporting the safe introduction of emerging technologies, like connected and automated vehicles

Support in Budget 2019

The budget provided $85 million over 4 years for the Rail Safety Improvement Program to:

  • expand the list of eligible recipients and broaden the scope of projects that can be funded to improve rail safety
  • fund improvements that will improve public safety at rail property and rail lines
  • fund a national information and education campaign to reduce collisions at railway grade crossing and trespassing incidents on railway property

Our progress

Changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act

On March 1, 2018 the Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act, came into force introducing some of the biggest changes to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act since it came into force in 1971.
Some of these changes provide a powerful suite of tools to make progress on the Canadian motor vehicle safety framework in 3 key areas:

  • enforcement: including authorities to develop regulations for a new administrative monetary penalty (fine) regime and better recall powers
  • exemptions: Ministerial Orders that allow us to respond quickly to emerging vehicle technologies, including connected and automated vehicles
  • defects and recalls: new Ministerial Order powers will help make sure that companies meet their safety obligations to consumers

Review of Railway Safety Act

The final report of the Railway Safety Act Review was tabled in Parliament on May 31, 2018. Following an extensive consultation process on its findings, we published our response to the review in April 2019. To date, most of the actions have been put in place.

Transportation Modernization Act

The Transportation Modernization Act received Royal Assent on May 23, 2018. The Act will require voice and video recorders to be installed on some railway locomotives. To protect the privacy of employees, only the Transportation Safety Board, railway companies and Transport Canada will be allowed to use the information these devices gather for specific reasons.

Fatigue management

Fatigue in the transportation industry is a safety hazard and Transport Canada is addressing this issue across all modes.

In June 2019, Transport Canada published changes to the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations so electronic logging devices are now required for federally regulated motor carriers.

On December 12, 2020, changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations came into effect for large Canadian passenger and cargo operators. The changesinclude:

  • prescribed flight and duty time limits that respect modern scientific research and international standards to limit the amount of time a crew member can be on the job
  • fatigue risk management systems that will require operators to show that any variance to the prescribed flight and duty time limits won’t negatively affect the flight crew’s fatigue or alertness, and
  • changes for smaller and regional air operators will come into effect on December 12, 2022

Updates to the Work/Rest Rules for Operating Employees were developed by industry and approved and published by Transport Canada published in November 2020 as the new Duty/Rest Rules for Operating Employees. The new rules:

  • shorten duty periods
  • cap the total hours that can be worked
  • set longer minimum rest periods
  • include mandatory time away from work
  • require companies to develop fatigue management plans

Planned changes to the Marine Personnel Regulations will increase penalties for with fatigue violations and clarify that commuting or transit time to and from a place of work shouldn’t count as hours of rest. The marine sector has committed to a 5-year “Fatigue Action Plan” to deal with fatigue among seafarers.

Locomotive Voice and Video Recorder Regulations

On September 2, 2020, the Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders Regulations were published. The regulations include require rail companies that install these devices on board locomotives by September 2, 2022.

These recorders will give accident investigators insight into the sequence of events leading up to a rail accident, and help determine if any corrective measures are needed to improve rail safety in Canada. Information from the recorders will also be used by railway companies to identify and manage safety risks.

Improved Road Safety Transfer Payment Program

As a part of Transport Canada’s Regulatory Review Roadmap, Budget 2019 created the Enhanced Road Safety Transfer Payment Program to help develop nationally consistent tools that address road safety challenges.

It creates opportunities to invest in Canadian projects to promote the innovative design, testing, and integration of connected and automated vehicles and other technologies that improve safety. In 2020, Transport Canada announced funding for 22 projects from the first round of submissions.

International partnerships

The dedicated CATSA screening lanes for U.S. preclearance passengers at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport are subject to agreements between each airport and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The timing of these agreements is fluid.

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