RSIP-ITR Applicant's Guide

We are not accepting any applications for funding at this time.

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 active rail lines
  • Technology, research and studies
  • Closure of grade crossings
  • Initiatives to raise awareness about rail safety issues across Canada

This program builds on Transport Canada's Grade Crossing Improvement, Grade Crossing Closure and Operation Lifesaver Programs.

This guide applies only to the ITR component of RSIP.

On this page

1. Program description

As part of a suite of initiatives under RSIP, the ITR component provides funding to support activities that address the immediate needs of communities related to rail safety.

Eligible activities for funding under the ITR component, for both federal and provincial rail lines:

  • Support measures to improve public safety at rail property and rail lines
  • Support research, testing and development of technology that can enhance the safety of rail line infrastructure
  • Support measures to address rail safety issues directly related to extreme weather conditions

2. Eligible recipients

Eligible recipients include:

  • provinces and territories
  • Indigenous communities, groups and organizations
  • municipalities and local and regional governments
  • road and transit authorities
  • Crown Corporations (including VIA Rail)
  • for-profit organizations (such as railway operators, railway owners)
  • not-for-profit organizations, including academia
  • individuals/private landowners

3. Eligible projects

3.1 Eligible project categories

Safety enhancements and infrastructure that will improve public safety at rail property and rail lines. Activities may include: replacement of incandescent lights with LEDs, installation of flashing lights, bells, gates, inter-connection with crossing warning system, roadway and intersection improvements (such as re-aligning grade crossing approach, adding sidewalks, construction of diversion road), construction of pedestrian overpasses, and other small infrastructure projects, such as maze barriers, fencing, access control, etc. that will improve safety. Work beyond what is necessary to improve safety is not eligible for funding under RSIP.

Technology: Safety improvements through the implementation of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) or other innovative technologies such as new detection technologies, onboard data recorders and communication protocols.

Research or studies: Research or studies related to enhancing safety of rail lines such as blocked crossings, restricting pedestrian access outside designated areas, addressing extreme weather conditions that have an effect on rail safety, and aspects related to infrastructure, equipment, etc.

Closure of a crossing: Closure of a private or public crossing where a safety concern has been identified. However, the closure must not result in a creation of a trespassing situation, nor should it create a safety concern at other crossings. Grants for closures will only be paid to an individual or road authority, as defined in Section 4 of the Railway Safety Act, who has the right to the existing crossing.

Safety enhancement work, crossing closures or relocation of public crossings in the interest of safety must be on a line of a federal or provincial railway and must have been in existence for at least three years.

3.2 Identifying projects

Potential projects are most often identified through:

  • an online application from an eligible recipient
  • an inspection by a Transport Canada railway safety inspector, through regular monitoring or as a result of a complaint concerning rail safety or a collision
  • a recommendation following a collision, including recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Once an infrastructure project has been brought to Transport Canada's attention, a railway safety inspector may meet on-site with road and railway officials and any other involved authorities to assist in assessing safety issues and to review the proposed work. The aim of this assessment is to ensure that safety issues are correctly identified and understood, and to examine the alternatives. Interim safety measures may be taken by the road authority or the railway company while waiting for implementation of the proposed work.

If there are any concerns regarding the safety of rail lines or on rail property, road authorities and railway companies are encouraged to contact Transport Canada Rail Safety.

3.3 Eligible project duration and approvals

  • We are not accepting any applications for funding at this time.
  • Project durations can span one, two or three years, as determined by the project-scope and complexity.

    *We encourage applicants to provide an accurate project timeline and cashflow that reflect multi-year funding, as required. Please note the following when establishing project timelines:

    • Single-year projects will have a completion date of March 31, 2025.
    • Two-year projects will have a completion date of March 31, 2026.
    • Three-year projects will have a completion date of March 31, 2027.
  • Expenditures are made eligible as of the date of application, no reimbursements will be made until the project has been approved and a funding agreement has been signed by both parties.
  • RSIP cannot issue advanced payments
    • Therefore, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funding available throughout the proposed project's life-cycle (including start-up) to ensure successful completion
  • Applicants must identify the source of all project funding in their application, such as in-kind, third party.
  • Letters from partner organizations that confirm financial support should be attached to the application

4. Eligible expenditures

Costs are made eligible as of the date of application, subject to project approval.

Eligible expenditures include:

  • Staff salaries and benefits
  • Purchase and lease of capital assets, technology, equipment, and supplies
  • Professional services, including accounting, translation, audit, and consulting
  • Planning, design, and evaluation
  • Engineering and environmental reviews and follow-up measures
  • Expenditures related to construction and rehabilitation of assets (including fees paid to general contractors and labourers, materials, licenses, permits and the rental of construction machinery and equipment)
  • Licenses and permits
  • Expenditures for aboriginal consultations, specifically project-related consultation activities pursuant to the crown's legal duty to consult
  • 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
  • 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 Transport Canada
  • The associated costs are not a donation received from a third party
  • The associated costs are related to goods, services or other support that would otherwise be purchased and paid for by the recipient as essential for the project

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

For additional information regarding in-kind contributions and what would be considered eligible, please reference the In-Kind Contribution Guide.

5. 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
  • Excess overhead charges *
  • Cost overruns that cause the federal contribution to exceed the amount outlined in the funding agreement
  • Maintenance costs
  • 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, and any other costs eligible for rebates
  • Purchase of land and/or buildings, related real estate fees and vehicles
  • Leasing of land, buildings, equipment and other facilities, except for equipment directly related to the completion of the project
  • Financing charges and interest payments on loans
  • 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.

6. Available funding

6.1 Basis of payment

Contribution payments will be made based on one or a combination of the following:

  • Reimbursement of eligible expenditures, and
  • Achievement of pre-determined performance expectations or milestones as detailed in the contribution agreement.

Grants will be paid as a lump sum, subject to the recipient demonstrating that projects or activities to enhance the safety have been completed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contribution agreements for:

  • Public crossing closures, or
  • Private crossing closures.

6.2 Percentage payable

The percentage of funding to be provided will be based on the type of recipient, as follows:

  • Via Rail and for-profit organizations: up to 50% of total eligible expenditures for any one completed project
  • All other recipients (including shortline railways and private landowners): up to 80% of total eligible expenditures for any one completed project when VIA Rail or a for-profit organization did not contribute to the project

Projects submitted by not-for-profit organizations, including municipalities, are eligible for up to 80% federal funding. However, for the elements of the projects where the work is the responsibility of the Railway and the Railway (not including shortlines) is financially contributing to the work, they are only eligible for up to 50%.

6.3 Maximum amount payable

For grade crossing closures, the maximum grant amount payable is $35,000 for a public crossing and $10,000 for a private crossing.

The maximum contribution amount payable per recipient shall not exceed $10,000,000 per fiscal year.

7. Selection criteria

7.1 Mandatory selection criteria

Applications will be assessed by Transport Canada to determine if they meet the following mandatory selection criteria:

  • Relevance of the project: how closely the proposed project corresponds to the RSIP objectives and eligible activities.
  • Quality of the Application: 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.
  • Value for the money: the degree to which the project represents an appropriate use of public funds towards achieving the broader objectives of the program.
  • Impact timeline: the timeline for how long it will take for this project to have a positive impact on rail safety.
  • Environmental Conditions: whether the location is prone to extreme weather conditions that have an impact on rail safety.

7.2 Project-specific selection criteria

Depending on the type of project to be funded, the following criteria will be used to assess funding requests and ensure that funded projects are supportive of the program's overall objectives:

  • Safety priority ranking based on the following criteria:
    • Historical collision data
    • Train and traffic volumes
    • Train and traffic speeds
    • Crossing configuration
    • Number of tracks and lanes
    • Existing crossing protection
    • Recommendations received from site inspections
  • The project leverages participation from other public and private entities
  • Applicant's relevant experience and capacity

Due to the limited amount of available funds in a given year, the applications received under the RSIP-ITR component are prioritized and the funds are allocated based on risk and identified safety issues, as well as the potential for the project to reduce collisions (fatalities, injuries and property damage).

8. Notification

After Transport Canada has evaluated all applications and the Minister has approved the recommended list, we will inform applicants if they have been selected for funding or not. Transport Canada reserves the right to accept or reject any application.

9. Service standards

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

  • Provide applicants with written acknowledgement of the receipt of their application within 10 business days of the application deadline date.
  • Issue payments within 20 business days following the notification to the recipient that the requirements outlined in the funding agreement have been fulfilled.

If the program cannot meet the above standards, we will advise recipients in a timely manner.

10. Funding agreements

Grant agreements are issued for Grade Crossing Closure projects, all other projects will be issued a contribution agreement.

A contribution agreement is funding that is shared by various contributors and is based on the reimbursement of eligible expenditures. Contribution funding must be accounted for to ensure that it is being used for the intended purpose. A research project requires reporting on a bi-annual basis, in order to track progress, and how the project contributes to the RSIP objectives. A contribution is subject to audit by Transport Canada.

A grant is funding based on an applicant meeting eligibility criteria that supports the goals of the program. A grant is provided after the eligibility criteria have been met and does not need to be accounted for. Recipients of grant funding may be required to report on results achieved.

10.1 Project risk assessment

Transport Canada will conduct a project risk assessment for 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 or contact the recipient
  • Audit requirements (all funding agreements indicate the Government of Canada's right to audit)

The risk assessment will be based on, but not limited to, the information provided in the application.

10.2 Project scope and agreement

The application will form the foundation to define the project scope, mandatory legal documentation, clauses, terms and conditions, performance measurements and payment structure in the formal funding agreement. Once the funding agreement is signed, no change to the scope of the project (including budget, structure, timelines, etc.) is possible without written agreement between the recipient and Transport Canada. The recipient will be responsible for costs associated with work performed outside of the approved scope of a project.

10.3 Regulatory requirements

Please note, Subsection 8(1) of the Railway Safety Act requires that a Notice of Railway Works be given at least 60 days prior to the start of certain types of projects as specified in the Notice of Railway Works Regulations. The types of projects where notice is required include:

  • The construction or alteration of a line of railway involving the acquisition of land in addition to land on which an existing line of railway is situated
  • The construction or alteration in a municipality of railway bridges and culverts having an overall span greater than six meters, and railway tunnels
  • The construction or alteration of structures located above or below a line of railway by a party other than a railway company, but excluding a mine or an oil or gas well
  • The construction or alteration of road crossings for public use, including the installation or alteration of road crossing warning systems, but excluding the installation or alteration of road crossing signs
  • The construction or alteration of any line works that may affect drainage on land adjoining the land on which a line of railway is situated

In accordance with section 5 (1) of the Notice of Railway Works Regulations, a Notice of Railway works must be given to:

  • In the case of a railway company proposing to construct or alter line works, notice must be given to the municipality, or municipalities, in which the line works will be or are located and to any owner of land immediately abutting land on which the line works are situated
  • In the case of any party proposing to construct a road crossing, excluding the installation of a road crossing warning system, notice must be given to the following:
    • The railway company whose line is to be crossed
    • The municipality in which the crossing works are to be located
    • The authority having responsibility for the road in question
    • Any owner of land immediately abutting land on which the crossing works are situated

Please note that a copy of the Notice of Railway Works must also be sent to the Director of the regional Railway Safety Directorate office that has jurisdiction over the railway at the location of the proposed works.

In accordance with Section 4 (c) of the Notice of Railway Works Regulations, the content of the Notice of Railway Works must include:

  • A drawing showing the location of the proposed works
  • A description of the proposed works with general plans, including elevations of proposed structures
  • A description of any impact that the proposed works may have on the safety of persons and property
  • The proposed date of commencement and the projected time for completion of the proposed works

Section 11 of the Railway Safety Act requires that a professional engineer must be responsible for the engineering work.

For crossing closure, as stated in Section 12.1 of the Railway Safety Act, the key requirement of the agreement is that the person's rights relating to the crossing are extinguished (the agreement will be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency)

Pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, an environmental assessment of a project may have to be completed, in accordance with Transport Canada instructions, prior to the commencement of any project-related works and prior to Transport Canada providing financial assistance

10.4 Reporting requirements

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

Progress reports

  • Recipients may be required to submit progress reports on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually (or annually for two-year agreements), as identified in the funding agreement
  • Progress reports will identify the progress achieved during the reporting period, and accompany financial claims

Annual reports

  • For two-year projects, the recipient may be required to produce 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 year and 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 performance indicators used to measure the achievement of the project's outcomes
    • 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 communications activities of the project during the reporting period
    • Issues, areas of concern or risk factors that may affect completion, the schedule or the budget of the project, as per original plans and the proposed mitigation strategies to correct the situation

Final reports

  • When the project is complete, recipients may be required to submit a final report as established in the funding agreement
  • In those instance, Transport Canada must receive the final report before it will pay the final expense claim
  • Along with the information required in the Annual Report, recipients may be asked to include:
    • An overall assessment and analysis of the objectives met, outcomes achieved, and lessons learned
    • Examples of any promotional items produced during the project
    • Any surveys, analyses, reports and/or research and raw data associated to the project

10.5 Payment requirements

Recipients can only submit claims for reimbursement of expenditures incurred that are identified in the funding agreement.

The recipient is responsible for notifying Transport Canada when the work is complete. This must be done within 30 days of completion. The recipient is also responsible for submitting a detailed invoice listing to Transport Canada that includes all third-party invoices as back-up to support the costs being claimed. Only those costs eligible under the program can be claimed on the invoice. In addition, upon submitting the invoice, the recipient must disclose the amount of funding expected to be received from all other government sources (federal, provincial, territorial or municipal).

For railway work, prior to payment of the invoice, a Transport Canada inspector may visit the site location and perform a detailed audit of the costs on the invoice. At this stage, a joint inspection with Transport Canada and the involved authorities may be required. Should the inspector require further information in order to process the invoice, the authorities will be notified and given two weeks to provide the information required.

10.6 Stacking Limits

The maximum level of total Canadian government funding (municipal, provincial, territorial and federal) authorized by the RSIP terms and conditions cannot exceed one hundred percent (100%) of total eligible expenditures.

Please note that the remaining portion of your project may be funded by another Canadian government funding program; however, it is important to refer to the stacking limits of the other program. In the event of different stacking limits between programs, the more restrictive (lower) stacking limit takes precedence.

10.7 Other funding agreement clauses

All recipients must respect the spirit and intent of the Official Languages Act when delivering a project funded under the 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 will apply to their projects.

11. How to apply

Section 11.1 explains how to submit your online application and section 11.2 explains how to get your GCKey.

Each application must be submitted through the online application portal and should include all the necessary information that is requested based on project type. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact: TC.RSIPITR-PASFITR.TC@tc.gc.ca.

11.1 Submitting your application package

The RSIP is not accepting any applications for funding at this time.

If you are experiencing issues with the application portal, please contact tc.rsipitr-pasfitr.tc@tc.gc.ca for an alternative application method.

*Please note that due to COVID restrictions staff are working remotely and cannot accept physical documents at this time.

Note: After an application has been submitted, it cannot be edited or deleted by the applicant - review applications for accuracy before submitting.

Once you have set up your GC-key (instructions shown below) and logged into the portal select relevant application type:

  1. Infrastructure and Grade Crossing Improvements
  2. Technology, Research, and Study Projects
  3. Grade Crossing Closures (Public/Private)

Each application must be completed and submitted prior to starting subsequent applications.

The application form can be saved and returned to at any time using the ‘Save’ function at the bottom of the web page. When you have completed the full application form and included all supporting documentation you will need to click the “Preview” button, this will allow you to review the entire form. At the bottom of the preview page, you will find the button to submit your application. An auto generated email will be sent to you to confirm the receipt of your submission. You can also check the “My Submissions” section of the portal to ensure that the application was successfully submitted. If your application is showing as “In progress” it has not been submitted, if it is showing as “Submitted” then your application has been successfully received by the system.

Once submitted it cannot be edited or deleted by the applicant. If changes are required, the applicant must resubmit a new, completed application form. Applicants must contact and notify Transport Canada at TC.RSIPITR-PASFITR.TC@tc.gc.ca if a resubmission is required, or if they have decided to withdraw their application.

To save a copy of the application, you can use your web browser’s ‘print to PDF’ function. This can usually be found in the window that opens when you select print in your browser. Look through the available printers, select your print to pdf device, and press print. A PDF should be generated and open on your screen.

If you do not receive the confirmation email it means that your application was not successfully submitted. Please double check the portal and resubmit, or reach out to the RSIP team for assistance.

Electronic Mailing Address

Any questions or concerns can be directed to: TC.RSIPITR-PASFITR.TC@tc.gc.ca

TO MAINTAIN THE TRANSPARENCY AND FAIRNESS OF THE SELECTION PROCESS, NO EXTENSIONS WILL BE GRANTED.

11.2 How to Obtain a GCKey

A GCKey is a unique electronic credential provided by the Government of Canada that allows you to communicate securely with online enabled Government programs and services.

  1. Click on 'Continue to gckey' to proceed to the registration page
  2. Read and accept the gckey Terms and Conditions of Use
  3. Create a username and password
  4. Applicants will be required to create three security questions

The submitted application is tied to the GCKey of the individual who submitted it; the submitted application can only be accessed by that specific GCKey.

For more information and FAQs about GCKey, please visit the GCKey information page.

IMPORTANT: GC Key has an automatic time-out feature that will log you out after a certain period if you are not active. If your page times out restart your browser and re-input the online application link, from there you will be able to log back in normally.