Record of Decision – December 17, 2015

Decision Record

Meeting of Thursday, December 17, 2015

Agenda Item Decisions / Action Items Sponsor

1. Attendance / Opening Remarks

The Chair opened the meeting and welcomed the participants.

Chris Powers
Chair, ER Task Force
Transport Canada

2. Approval of the Agenda

The Agenda was approved with the following change:
An item was added to the agenda (at # 5): Louis Marcotte (TDG) will give an update on the TDG Tabletop Exercise report.


3. Approval of the June 11, 2015 Meeting Decision Record

Members reviewed and approved the November 19, 2015 meeting Decision Record as presented.


4. ERTF Terms of Reference Addenda

The members review the revised version of the Addenda to the Terms of Reference which contains an additional item on Real-Time data, as follows:

  1. Real-time data access

    The Task Force will continue its discussion on access to real-time data for municipalities and first responders. The objective is to provide more clarity for municipalities to understand the impact of real-time data access on their emergency response, and for them to have an opportunity to explain to Transport Canada why they think that having real-time data access will assist them in being better prepared for emergency response to incidents involving flammable liquids.

Members accepted the wording as proposed.


5. Brief Update since November 2015 ERTF meeting

Update from TDG-DG:

  • The TDG Directorate is moving forward on program improvement. More details with a full status update will be given to members at the January 21, 2016 meeting. Rail Safety and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Rail remain important priority files for the Minister and Deputy Minister. TDG will continue to brief them on the activities of the ERTF on an ongoing basis. Emergency response issues will continue to be addressed under the umbrella of a GPAC working group or technical committee even after the ERTF mandate ends.
  • TC-TDG has made public the results of its Crude Oil sampling and Analysis project. The results of the analysis indicate that the level of Hydrogen sulfide in some wells is concerning.  As a result, TC published a TDG Advisory in August 2015 which can be accessed at
  • TC is pursuing the idea of holding a federal-provincial summit on emergency response as well as crude oil in 2016 to address issues such as Incident Command, etc.
  • CANUTEC now has a toll free number available in Canada and the U.S. at 1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832).  The existing numbers will remain active and CANUTEC will continue to accept collect calls.
  • The publication of the 2016 Edition of the ERG is currently ahead of schedule (by approximately 3 months). CANUTEC anticipates bilingual release (online and print) in early March 2016 (free of charge to first responders, firefighting training centres and members of the ERTF).


Report on the TC-TDG hosted Tabletop Exercise of November 2015:

The goal of the exercise was to bring together concerned stakeholders and raise awareness using the ENFORM online application on flammable liquids.

Participants indicated that the current state of awareness across the country is not sufficient for first responders to be prepared to respond to a rail incident involving flammable liquids. In spite of the fact that they are aware of services offered by CANUTEC, for the most part, they aren’t aware of the existence of ERAPs or how the ERAP holder can provide additional support during a response. They indicated, however, that the ENFORM online application will certainly help in this regard and that any outreach and information will help address some of the shortcomings.

The Post-Exercise report can be accessed through the SFTA.

The next event, which is the field exercise, will be held on March 12 & 13, 2016 at the Maple Ridge, B.C. site.  The focus of the exercise will be flammable liquid ERAP involving multi partners including TC.  Tabletop exercise participants will be invited to take part.  TC-TDG will also draw up a list of other participants who could benefit from the field exercise.


  • There seems to be a lack of understanding and support from municipalities (AHJ) when a non-intervention strategy is the best option when responding to a flammable liquid rail incident. Educating municipalities on this topic could be beneficial.
  • It seems to be a challenge for first responders to coordinate their efforts with private industry responders and specialized equipment. This confirms the importance of promoting ICS.

TC-TDG is considering the development of a code of practice based on lessons learned during the exercise.

  • ERTF Secretariat: Adrian Michelson confirmed his acceptance of the position of ERTF Vice-Chair.
  • All ERTF Quarterly reports are now available on the ERTF website. Once posted, these reports will remain on the website until they can be substituted with the final ERTF report. Once the final report is posted, quarterly reports will be removed from the website and available only upon request to Transport Canada.
  • TDG Newsletter: TDG will be publishing its next Newsletter in early 2016.  The theme of this edition is ERAP (what is it and when is it activated?).  Paper copies will be made available to ERTF members at the January 2016 ERTF meeting. Members are encouraged to register through the TC website at to receive an online copy. There are already about 4,000 registered members.

Peter Coyles on behalf of Nicole Girard
Director General, TDG
Transport Canada

Angelo Boccanfuso
Transport Canada

Louis Marcotte, Chief, Response and Operations, TDG
Transport Canada

Mylaine DesRosiers
Executive Director
Transport Canada

6. Brief Update on other ongoing ERTF activities since November 2015.

Fire Services Survey: results and next steps
TDG sent out a fire survey across Canada to find out the location and access to foam and equipment with the objective to produce a GIS map for firefighting capacity. Response rate is low.  As a result, TC is considering other means to gather the data in order to achieve a comprehensive database to provide a useful and credible tool.  In the meantime, TC will continue to map out the information sent by fire services. 

Action Item:
ERAC confirmed its intention to send the ERTF Secretariat with a written submission to further explore opportunities for this type of data information sharing with TC.

Chris Powers
Chair, ER Task Force
Transport Canada

7. Update on ERAP Program working group

Meeting Update:
Working group members met on December 16, 2015. A work plan was approved by WG members. The Work plan identifies four items for discussion:

  1. Clarifying ERAP Activation:
    1. Service levels and expectations upon ERAP activation (Recommendations 17, 18, 29)
    2. Authority
    3. Process
  2. Addressing the challenge of coordinating multiple plans implemented for the same incident (Recommendation 30)
  3. Identifying ERAP Program data needs for continued improvement and effective monitoring (Recommendation 31)
  4. Improving communication and information sharing (Recommendations 8, 32, 33).

WG members agree to forward the topic of environmental issues to another forum as it goes beyond the ERTF mandate.

WG discussions revealed that there remain many unanswered questions and outstanding/ambiguous issues regarding ERAP activation. WG members will continue to meet to sort through these in the hopes of achieving consensus on what is meant by activation, how the process should work and identify the best approach/solutions to make sure the process is well understood by all concerned.

Action Item:
Members that would like to provide comments on the Work plan can do so by sending them to the ERTF Secretariat before January 8, 2016.

Adrian Michelson
TDG, Transport Canada

8. Update on First Responder training working group

Meeting Update:
The WG members last met on December 16, 2015. A Chart, developed by WG members with the assistance of Tom McGowan from the NFPA, was shared with the Task Force. The Chart documents the result of the gap analysis conducted by the WG and identifies key elements of flammable response competencies that are specific to flammable liquids incidents. The chart will form the basis of the Interim guidelines and eventually a new NFPA standard and will also be a good starting point for the curriculum development. It will be sent out to ERTF members for final comments.

Next steps:

  1. First responder training Interim guidelines development:

    WG members are counting on the NFPA to develop, produce and distributing the interim guidelines. The Chart would form the basis of the interim guidelines which would be produced in a format compatible with NFPA standards formatting.
  2. First responder training curriculum development:

    WG members recommended that an action plan be put in place to begin the curriculum development process.  The objective would be to come up with a national curriculum baseline from which provinces and territories could draw to develop their respective training curriculum (adapted to their own particular needs).  WG members strongly support the establishment of a focus group (with representatives from each province/territory) to examine already existing programs in order to identify and draw up a list of training elements already common across the country in order to create a national baseline.

Action items:

  • The ERTF Secretariat will send a final draft of the analysis chart to ERTF members for comments.
  • Continue to facilitate the training WG discussion.

Chris Powers
Chair, ERTF
TDG, Transport Canada

9. Discussion: Real Time data access to train consist

It appears that there are still concerns with the type and timing of information being shared under PD 32. The information required under PD 32 is meant to be used by communities as a planning tool, not a response tool. TC is currently having discussions with FCM and other stakeholders to optimize the process and use of the information. This discussion is being handled outside of the ERTF.

RAC comments that it is a regulatory requirement for railways to provide to CANUTEC the train consist, CANUTEC should not have to call the railways to request it following a rail incident.

Chief Denis Lauzon comments that Lac-Mégantic Fire Services now receive train consists ahead of the train coming through the community, but does not necessarily know what to do with it. CANUTEC’s assistance is valued as it provides specialized advice to fire services on how to process the information.

FCM confirmed that they don’t expect real time data access to be provided directly to communities. A continuous data feed to communities will not necessarily be useful (for emergency planning purposes for example) and would require resources (for example analysts) that could add to operating costs. AskRail is a useful tool; however, not ideal for remote communities that do not have adequate web access. FCM is satisfied that real time data access is provided to CANUTEC which communities can contact should they require support.

ERTF members support the current Real Time Data Access recommendations submitted to the DG-TDG in June 2015 and that there is no further need to re-open the discussion, unless TDG indicates otherwise.

Action Item:
TDG to provide further information to members at the next meeting as to the nature of the comments received by the department pertaining to real-time data to better understand what needs to be resolved or allow this item to be closed.

Chris Powers
Chair, ER Task Force
Transport Canada

10. Presentation : Ontario Provincial Government (MOT)

Stephanie explained how MOT’s mandate fits into the bigger emergency management picture. Although their focus prior to 2009 has been mainly on roads, MOT’s responsibility now includes rail. MOT is currently conducting a strategic review of its policies and programs: emergency planning has been identified as one of the biggest issue by Ontario communities, specifically the need for emergency plans for rail incidents.

MOT is interested in working collaboratively with federal and municipal partners to facilitate the ongoing work towards enhancing emergency preparedness for rail incidents involving flammable liquids, in areas such as incident command, training, etc.

Stephanie Maragna
Senior Program Advisor, Emergency Management and Planning Office
Ministry of Transportation

11. First Responder Training on Flammable Liquids: Online Training - Update provided by ENFORM

Version 2 of the final draft will be available by end of December 2015. A launch of the Online Training Application is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016. It will be available to first responders and emergency planners free of charge.

A voice over preview of the online training application was presented to members. Members expressed that they are pleased with the product and congratulated the group responsible for this important achievement.

Members reiterated the importance of translation to French and that both versions of the online training product need to be launched at the same time. Benoit Laroche of École nationale des pompiers du Québec as well as CANUTEC offered the help to conduct quality assurance for the French.

Members also indicated that new and even more user friendly online training software (such as ChallengeU) now exist to develop such programs; something for ERTF/GPAC working group members to consider for the future.
ENFORM committed to offer an improved product in a year based on users’ feedback.  Members agree that continuous improvement of the training presentation is important.  Some members consider one year to be too long to provide an updated version.

Next steps:
The Online Training program will be translated and reviewed for French terminology.

Finbarr Wilson

12. Roundtable - Comments, Questions and Answers

(1) Conference Board meeting on:

Erika Adams from the CAFC invited members to attend the February 3rd and 4th, 2016 meeting.

Action item:

The ERTF Secretariat will provide members with the meeting information.

(2) Focus group meetings schedule for First responder training and ERAP program review:

Members indicated their preference for back to back working group meetings to allow for the participation of those who may be interested in both groups.

Action item:

The ERTF Secretariat will make arrangements accordingly.

(3) The Secretariat reminds members to submit their suggestions for agenda items to Mylaine DesRosiers ( or the Secretariat (

(4) Participants’ concerns, questions or suggestions are included in a consultation record (including quarterly report comments), which is updated on a regular basis.


13. Closing Remarks

The Director General-TDG, the ERTF Chair, Vice-Chair and the ERTF Secretariat Executive Director thanked members for their continued commitment and important contribution to the Task Force and best holiday wishes were conveyed by all.

Chris Powers
Chair, ERTF
TDG, Transport Canada


Wednesday January 20 and Thursday January 21, 2016
Crowne Plaza, Gatineau, QC