Hi this is Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.
Today marks the beginning of Rail Safety Week. Rail safety remains my absolute priority and we have made considerable improvements over the last 5 years, but we need to continue to look at ways of making our rail lines even safer.
Incidents around railways are still too common. Last year, there were 230 rail-related incidents in Canada, resulting in 66 fatalities and 46 serious injuries.
This year, there have already been 100 rail-related incidents, 34 fatalities and 18 serious injuries. Even one fatality is too many.
It only takes a split second of inattention at a railway crossing to be seriously injured or killed. Likewise, shortcuts across railway tracks can cut lives short.
Every incident, every tragedy, leaves a family in grief, a train crew traumatized and a community devastated.
Our Government is committed to taking all the necessary steps to keep Canadians safe by improving rail safety around railway tracks and trains.
Despite the pandemic, we did not put rail safety on hold and we will not hesitate to continue to take the necessary actions to improve the safety of tracks across the country.
While significant efforts have been made to educate people and communities about incidents and fatalities related to dangerous behaviour around railway tracks, together, we must continue to look for ways to further reduce these largely preventable deaths and injuries from happening.
Rail safety is a shared responsibility among jurisdictions and an issue that Transport Canada cannot resolve on its own.
Together with our partners, Operation Lifesaver and railway companies, as well as communities that are situated near railways,—we are once again raising public awareness of the potential dangers at railway crossings and from trespassing on railway property in the context of Rail Safety Week.
Rail Safety Week will run from September 21 to 27. This year, it coincides with the return of kids to school and the reopening of the economy, which means many people are also returning to work, and Canadians are starting to travel a bit more.
This week is a great opportunity to remind everyone to be extra vigilant around trains and tracks as daily routines continue to change across the country.
Don’t trespass on tracks, and help us Stop Track Tragedies.
Be rail smart! Stop, look, listen and live at crossings-This could save lives.