Rail Safety Improvement Program: Public Education and Awareness applicant's guide

Transport Canada's Rail Safety Improvement Program (RSIP) provides grant and contribution funding to improve rail safety and reduce injuries and fatalities related to rail transportation.

The program funds:

  • Safety improvements to existing rail lines;
  • Technology, research and studies;
  • Closures of grade crossings; and,
  • Initiatives to raise awareness about rail safety issues across Canada.

This guide applies only to the Public Education and Awareness (E&A) component of RSIP.

The RSIP E&A Call for Proposals is now closed.

On this page

  1. Program description
  2. Eligible recipients
  3. Eligible expenditures
  4. Ineligible expenditures
  5. Available funding
  6. Eligibility assessment criteria
  7. Merit selection criteria
  8. Notification
  9. Service standards
  10. Funding agreements
  11. How to apply

1. Program description

The public Education and Awareness (E&A) component provides funding to support activities aimed at reducing railway grade crossing collisions and trespassing incidents on railway property. Under this component, there are two key elements, National Public Information and Education Program and the Regional, Municipal and Local Education and Awareness Program for high risk areas.

Projects eligible for funding under RSIP E&A include those that:

  • Raise public awareness and understanding of the potential hazards of road/railway grade crossings and the dangers associated with trespassing on railway property;
  • Support research that contributes to a better understanding of behaviour, attitudes and the impact of rail safety issues; and
  • Support the development of training curricula to build capacity to respond to incidents related to dangerous goods transported by rail.

2. Eligible recipients

Eligible recipients include:

  • Provinces, territories, municipalities and local and regional governments;
  • First Nations Communities;
  • Indigenous groups, communities and organizations;
  • Road and transit authorities;
  • Crown Corporations (including VIA Rail);
  • For-profit organizations (such as railway operators and railway owners);
  • Not-for-profit organizations (including Academia); and,
  • Individuals.

3. Eligible expenditures

Eligible expenditures include:

  • Staff salaries and benefits;
  • Costs related to the printing, publication and distribution of material;
  • Room rentals and other facility costs;
  • Conference fees;
  • Professional fees for contracted services (e.g. translation, development and distribution of information, data collection, analysis and processing costs, etc.);
  • Purchase or lease of capital assets;
  • Administrative expenditures (including general administration, expenditures, rent, insurance, office equipment rental and membership fees);
  • Travel expenditures (including the cost of accommodations, vehicle rental and kilometric rates, bus, train, airplane or taxi fares, allowances for meals and incidentals). Travel and per diem expenses cannot be more than the rates and allowances determined in the Travel Directive of the National Joint Council; and,
  • Other costs that are, in the opinion of Transport Canada, considered to be direct, reasonable and incremental for the successful implementation of the project and have been approved in writing prior to being incurred.

Eligible expenditures can be cash-equivalent expenditures associated with in-kind contributions. These expenditures may be reimbursed so long as the following three criteria are met:

  • The associated costs are deemed as eligible expenditures and have been approved by Canada;
  • The associated costs are not a donation received from a third party; and,
  • The associated costs are related to goods, services or other support that would otherwise be purchased and paid for by the applicant as essential for the project

NOTE: In-kind contributions received from a third party are considered donations and may form part of the total eligible expenditures of the project, but are not reimbursable.

4. Ineligible expenditures

Certain expenditures are not eligible for funding and therefore will not be considered in the calculation of the total eligible expenditures of the proposed project, including:

  • Costs incurred before the application date or after the final claim date specified in the contribution agreement;
  • Excess overhead charges*
  • Expenditures for provincial sales tax and Goods and Services Tax or the Harmonized Sales Tax, where applicable, for which the recipient is eligible for a rebate, or any other costs eligible for rebates;
  • Purchase of land and/or buildings, related real estate fees, and vehicles;
  • Financing charges and interest payments on loans; and,
  • Expenditures that have been reimbursed from other sources of funding, federal statutes or funding programs

*Recipients are eligible to include up to 15% of the total TC contribution in overhead costs. A cut-off is imposed to ensure that Canada’s contribution goes primarily to direct costs, i.e., costs that are completely attributable or directly tied to implementation of the project and the achievement of the project/program outcomes.

5. Available funding

A total of $1,300,000 million is available for disbursement under RSIP E&A

  • The maximum TC payable amount per recipient shall not exceed $1M per fiscal year.
  • RSIP-E&A will reimburse recipients up to fifty per-cent (50%) of eligible expenditures for proposed projects or completed projects.

Note: Expenditures related to the development of training curricula are reimbursable up to 100% of total eligible expenditures for any one project and will consider other sources of funding available to the recipient.

6. Eligibility assessment criteria

Project priorities, categories and target groups

Transport Canada requires that applicants address key priority activities in a focused and quantifiable manner. It is important for applicants to clearly describe the specific activities taken at a national-level as well as the linkage to regional-level initiatives. Applicants should identify and prioritize activities to reduce fatalities and injuries from trespassing/crossing incidents among youth, indigenous communities, professional drivers and the general public and how these audiences will be targeted at the national level.

All project proposals must support at least one of the following project categories and target groups:

Project categories

  • Outreach initiatives, promotional awareness and public education campaigns related to rail safety;
  • Public service announcements, social media, websites and other communications activity regarding rail safety;
  • Coordination and communication activities with international organizations such as Operation Lifesaver International;
  • Production and distribution of rail safety education and awareness materials to promote rail safety; and,
  • Research, studies and analyses leading to a better understanding of the behaviour, attitudes and the impact of rail safety issues.

Project target groups*

  • Indigenous groups and/or communities;
  • Youth groups (through schools, youth organizations and driver education, etc.);
  • Professional drivers;
  • Accessibility groups; and,
  • General public.

*Note: If you are proposing to target a group (other than those indicated above) please clearly identify them in your project proposal.

Eligible project duration and approvals

  • Single year projects (must be completed by March 31, 2021), two-year projects (must be completed by March 31, 2022) and three-year projects (must be completed by March 31, 2023) will be considered eligible;
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funding available throughout the proposed project's life-cycle (including start-up) to ensure successful completion; and,
  • Applicants must identify the source of all project funding in their project proposal, e.g. in-kind, third-party and letters from partner organizations that confirm financial support should be attached to the proposal.

7. Merit selection criteria

Project proposals will be assessed by Transport Canada to determine if they meet the mandatory Eligibility Assessment Criteria (see section 7 for details). If eligible, the proposed project will be assessed against the following Merit Selection Criteria described below

Selection Criteria

Assessment and Evaluation

Relevance of the project

How closely the proposed project corresponds to the RSIP E&A's objectives (as described in section 2).

Applicant's relevant experience and capacity

How well the applicant is able, in terms of resources, personnel and expertise, to complete the proposed project. More specifically, RSIP E&A will consider the applicant's:

  • Mandate and/or experience and expertise;
  • Demonstrated commitment based on past or current projects; and,
  • Institutional, management/organizational structures, financial controls, and other support required to successfully deliver the proposed project.

Quality of the proposal

The degree to which the planned activities, schedule, budget, targeted results, roles and responsibilities are clear, realistic, and consistent with the proposed project's objectives. Transport Canada will assess whether the proposed project has:

  • Clearly stated goals, objectives, and outcomes;
  • A realizable project plan, concrete deliverables, budget, and timelines;
  • A detailed risk analysis and mitigation strategy; and,
  • An experienced and qualified project delivery team with roles and responsibilities clearly established.

Performance measurement strategy

Transport Canada wants to contribute to projects that generate results that can be reported to Canadians. Transport Canada will assess the applicant's project measurement strategy, the results the proposed activities would achieve, and how they would align with RSIP E&A's objectives (identified in Section 2).

Value for the money

How well the proposal sets out efficient use of resources and plans for producing outputs in an affordable manner.

Other criteria

RSIP E&A will also take into consideration whether the project:

  • Addresses high-risk areas/issues to reduce trespassing, injuries and fatalities;
  • Will have a sustained impact on the future of rail safety;
  • Addresses Indigenous communities and their specific needs;
  • Addresses emerging issues such as suicide prevention;
  • Includes a variety of activities;
  • Balances innovation (new projects) versus enhancing of existing initiatives;
  • Has the ability to leverage cash or in-kind support from non-federal sources and minimize the share of federal government funding; and,
  • Is set up to provide support to local and regional organizations' RSIP E&A activities.

8. Notification

After RSIP E&A has evaluated a project proposal, we will inform the applicant if they have been selected for funding or not. RSIP E&A reserves the right to accept or reject any project proposal.

9. Service standards

In an effort to continually improve service and conduct a transparent process, the RSIP E&A component has established the following service standards:

  • Our goal is to provide applicants with written acknowledgement of receipt of their project proposal within 10 business days of the application deadline date; and,
  • Our goal is to issue payments within 20 business days following the notification to the recipient that the requirements outlined in the funding agreement have been fulfilled and a claim has been submitted.

Note: If the program cannot meet the above standards, Transport Canada will advise recipients in a timely manner.

10. Funding agreements

10.1 Project risk assessment

Transport Canada will conduct a risk assessment of all approved projects, prior to signing a funding agreement. This ensures that funding agreement requirements correspond to the project's risk levels, and the recipient's capacity to deliver results. The project risk assessment will determine:

  • How often the recipient must report project progress;
  • Financial documentation the recipient must submit with payment claims;
  • How often we will make site visits and/or contact the recipient; and,
  • Audit requirements (all funding agreements indicate Canada's right to audit).

The risk assessment will be based on, but not limited to, the information provided in the applicant's project proposal.

10.2 Project scope and agreement

The applicant's project proposal will form the foundation of the project scope, mandatory legal documentation, clauses, terms and conditions, performance measurements and payment structure that are included in the funding agreement. Once the funding agreement is signed, no change to the scope of the project (including budget, structure, timelines, etc.) is possible without prior written agreement between the recipient and Transport Canada.

Note: It is very important to clearly define the scope of the project in the proposal. Unless Transport Canada pre-approve changes to the scope, the recipient will be responsible for costs associated with work performed outside of the approved scope of a project.

10.3 Reporting requirements

Reporting requirements will be established in the funding agreement, and may include financial claims, list of invoices, progress reports and a final report, among other elements.

Progress reports

Recipients must submit progress reports as identified in the funding agreement. Progress reports will identify the progress achieved during the reporting period, and will accompany financial claims.

Semi-annual reports

For multi-year projects, the recipient will be required to produce semi-annual reports. These reports will include but may not be limited to the following:

  • A detailed description of the Project's progress, major achievements during the half-year, an update on how the project is moving forward and how it relates to the project's initial objectives and final results;
  • Updated data on performance indicators indicated in funding agreement compared to the start of the project. The Recipient will ensure that appropriate data collection processes are in place to enable the capture and reporting of the of performance indicators used to measure the achievement of the Project's outcomes;
  • Semi-annual reporting on the Recipient's Eligible Expenditures incurred and based on the breakdown of the Eligible Expenditures claimed, in accordance with the funding agreement budget;
  • Highlights of Project communications activities during the reporting period; and
  • Issues, areas of concern or risk factors that may affect completion, the schedule or the budget of the Project as per original plans as well as the proposed mitigation strategies to correct the situation.

Final reports

When the project is complete, recipients will be required to submit a final report The final report serves as a roll-up and verification of all project activities, costs and outcomes

Along with the information required in the Semi-annual Report, Recipients will be asked to also include:

  • An overall assessment and analysis of the objectives met, outcomes achieved, and lessons learned;
  • Examples of any promotional items produced during the project; and,
  • Any surveys, analyses, reports and/or research and raw data associated with the project.

10.4 Payment requirements

Financial claims

Recipients can only submit claims for reimbursement of expenditures incurred that are identified in the funding agreement. Transport Canada will provide recipients with templates that reflect the eligible expenses, as indicated in the funding agreement. Recipients may also be required to submit a list of invoices with each claim.

10.5 Other funding agreement clauses

Official Languages

All recipients must respect the Official Languages Act when delivering a project funded under RSIP. Linguistic requirements may apply to projects depending on their scope (national, regional or local) or on the specificity of the regions and targeted audiences of projects. Transport Canada will work with successful recipients to determine how this applies to their project.

11. How to apply

The project proposal template (Word document) and the budget and cash flow template (Excel document) must be used to develop and present your application.

11.1 Documentation required

Your application package must include the following:

  • Title of project and executive summary
  • Applicant information
    • Legal name of the organization
    • Name and position of the primary contact for applicant organization
    • Name and position of the signing authority for the applicant's organization
    • Mailing address for all correspondence
    • Communication links such as office phone/fax numbers and email/internet address
  • Organizational profile
    • Type of organization, in accordance with eligible recipients
    • Organizational structure and governance
    • History of the organization
    • Mandate of the organization
    • Organizational activities
    • Legal documentation of applicant organization
  • Project management personnel
    • Each project must have a designated project manager, with all the necessary contact information if it is different from the applicant's organization.
    • Evidence must be provided to support that the project manager has relevant qualifications and experience to undertake, manage and carry out the project on behalf of the applicant organization.
  • Declarations
    • Conflict of interest questionnaire
    • Declaration by applicant organization attesting to the accuracy of the project proposal and the commitment of the organization to carry out the project and authorized signature.
  • Project description
    • Project objectives and goals
    • Location of project delivery
    • Proposed start and completion dates
    • Major activities for the project
    • Project work plan
    • Partners and contributions
    • Risk assessment and mitigation measures
  • Performance measurement strategy
    • Output/outcome monitoring
    • Methodology of measurement
  • Communication plan
  • Letters of financial support

Note: All project proposals must be signed, complete, accurate and comprehensive. They must be presented using the templates provided. All applicants other than individuals must provide legal documentation confirming their organization is legitimate, such as letters of patent, certificate of incorporation or other such legal documents. Missing or incomplete information will slow the processing of the application and may result in its rejection.

11.2 Submitting your application package

The RSIP E&A Call for Proposals is now closed.

An application may be submitted:

  • Electronically to tc.rsipea-pasfes.tc@tc.gc.ca; an electronic application package must be in MS Word, MS Excel or PDF format (if an application is submitted electronically, please do not submit hard copies by mail)
  • By courier to the postal address below, and must be received in this office by the application deadline:

ATTN: Director, Transportation Infrastructure Program (AHSE)

Transport Canada
330 Sparks Street Place de Ville, Tower C, 19th Floor
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5

All applications must be received in this office by the application deadline.

RSIP E&A will confirm receipt of proposal packages.

Note: To maintain the transparency and fairness of the selection process, no extensions will be granted.