427 Laurier Avenue West
Enterprise Building, 14th floor
July 11, 2021
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Dear Sir / Madam:
Please find enclosed Ministerial Order 21-06 (MO 21-06), which is issued pursuant to section 32.01 of the Railway Safety Act (RSA).
Safe rail operations are especially important in the context of extreme weather conditions, and Transport Canada is taking immediate and ongoing actions to address the concerns of communities that live and work near rail lines.
On July 9, 2021, Transport Canada issued a Ministerial Order to cease movement of trains between Kamloops and Boston Bar, British Columbia for 48 hours ending midnight local time Saturday July 10, 2021. This was done in the interest of safe railway operations and to protect public safety for the temporary return of residents to inspect their homes in Lytton.
In the interest of safe railway operations and to address the concerns regarding risks to community safety in extreme weather conditions, Transport Canada is issuing a subsequent Ministerial Order to strengthen safety by further protecting against wildfires in the context of extreme weather conditions. Key provisions of this Order, which will take effect at 12:01 am PDT Sunday, July 11, 2021, include measures for railways to increase their capacity to detect, monitor and suppress fires. The immediate measures described in the Order were developed on a precautionary basis, and includes targeted speed restrictions, increased equipment inspections, and staging and deployment of additional fire prevention equipment for more rapid response to any fire along the right of way. In the coming days and weeks, Transport Canada will continue to work with railway companies, communities and Indigenous Groups to further refine these measures based on the results of these consultations.
Transport Canada is committed to build on recent discussions with Indigenous Groups and local communities to develop a sustained structured process for engagement and consultations on issues related to rail safety and the impacts of rail operations on communities. As a first step, Transport Canada has invited First Nations representatives to participate in a live demonstration of the department’s inspections of track and rail equipment in the area with Transport Canada rail safety experts. Building on this progress, this Order requires railway companies to consult Indigenous communities in the development of extreme weather fire risk mitigation plans, which will include specific measures to better detect, monitor and suppress fires associated with railway operations.
Transport Canada will work with railway companies to incorporate these fire risk reduction measures on a permanent basis into the existing regulatory framework governing railway operations in Canada. This work will include, for example, a commitment to leveraging and deploying available technology to detect and monitor for the presence of fires.
If you intend to initiate a review of the Order, you must file a request in writing with the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (Tribunal), no later than August 10, 2021.
The Tribunal has prepared a Guide for Applicants that you may obtain from the Tribunal’s Registrar at addresses listed below or by visiting the website https://www.tatc.gc.ca/.
Applications may be sent by mail, facsimile, electronic mail or delivered in person to the Transportation Appeal Tribunal Registry at the following address:
Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada
344 Slater Street
15th Floor, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C2
Tel. No.: 613-990-6906
Fax No.: 613-990-9153
Pursuant to section 32.3 of the RSA an order issued under section 32.01 of the RSA shall not be stayed pending a review requested under section 32.1, an appeal under section 32.2 or a reconsideration by the Minister under subsection 32.1(5) or 32.2.(3) of the RSA.
In association with the development of an Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Plan, as required under MO 21-06, and whereas section 36 of the Railway Safety Act provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to order that a railway company provide, in the specified form and within the specified period, documents that he or she considers necessary for the purposes of ensuring compliance with an order made under the Act, I hereby order the railway companies listed in Annex B to MO 21-06 to file their Interim Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Plan with Transport Canada within 14 days of the date of this Order and their Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Plan with Transport Canada within 60 days of the date of this Order.
Should you have any questions, please contact Sean Rogers, Director, Regulatory Affairs at 613-298-5597 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss technical aspects of this issue, please contact Ms. Stephanie Lines, Director, Operations Management at 613-990-7745 or email@example.com.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Mr. W. Phillips, TCRC-MWED
Mr. S. Hadden, USW
Mr. S. Pickthall, IAMAW
Mr. B. Snow, UNIFOR
Mr. Steve Leyshon, BLET
Ms. L. Cyr, TCRC-MWED
Mr. J-F. Migneault, USW
Mr. D. Ashley, TCRC
Mr. E. Féquet, TUT
Mr. L. Hopper, IBEW
Mr. C. Crabtree, ATU
Ms. L. Robillard, TCRC
Mr. N. Lapierre, Métallos
Enclosure: Ministerial Order 21-06
ORDER PURSUANT TO SECTION 32.01 OF THE
RAILWAY SAFETY ACT, R.S. 1985, C. 32 (4th SUPP.)
Section 32.01 of the Railway Safety Act (RSA) provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to order a company, road authority or municipality to stop any activity that might constitute a threat to safe railway operations or to follow the procedures or take the corrective measures specified the order, including constructing, altering, operating or maintaining a railway work.
Whereas fires along railway lines pose a danger to safe railway operations, and the integrity of railway tracks, infrastructure and public safety.
Whereas section 3 of the Prevention and Control of Fires on Line Works Regulations, identifies that fire hazards include combustible material, including vegetation, that is found along a line work and that has a fast burning rate and could readily ignite.
Whereas British Columbia is dealing with unprecedented wildfires that have displaced hundreds of people in Lytton, British Columbia, the Lytton First Nation and the surrounding areas, and elevated risks of wildfires both in British Columbia and throughout Canada continue to pose a threat to safe railway operations and public safety.
Whereas First Nations communities located along the subdivisions listed in Annex A hold knowledge with respect to wildfire risks and control of fires in these areas.
Therefore, I find it necessary in the interest of safe railway operations to make this order, under section 32.01 of the RSA, requiring the railways listed in Annex B to follow the requirements listed below.
A. Operations Between Kamloops and Boston Bar or Between Kamloops and North Bend:
- From the date of the issuance of this Order until October 31, 2021, when operating on the list of subdivisions listed in Annex A (“the Subdivisions”) when the fire danger level in the area of the Subdivisions is “extreme”, Canadian National Railway Company (CN) and Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CP) must:
- Incorporate the deployment of fire suppression capacity into their operations that will ensure a 60 minute response time to any fires detected along the right of way of the Subdivisions in order to take steps to extinguish or control the reported fire, or to notify the fire service responsible for the area if the fire cannot be controlled without assistance;
- Require that the conductor on any train be responsible for spotting for fires and reporting any fires or smoldering areas along the Subdivisions to Rail Traffic Control for response by fire services;
- Ensure that any vegetation control measures are followed by removal of combustible materials; and
- CN and CP must ensure that at least 10 fire detection patrols are conducted on the Subdivisions every 24 hours unless a train has not operated on the relevant Subdivision for a period of at least 3 hours.
- CN and CP must consult with Indigenous governments or other Indigenous governing bodies located along the Subdivisions to incorporate considerations of Indigenous knowledge related to the presence of fire hazards, fire risk and control of fires into the preparation of Fire Hazard Reduction Plans and the Fire Preparedness Plans required under the Prevention and Control of Fires on Line Works Regulations.
B. Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Throughout Canada
- Where the ambient air temperature is 30 to 32 degrees Celsius and the fire danger level for the area is “extreme”, the railway companies listed in Annex B must ensure train speeds are reduced to 25 mph where permitted track speed is between 26 mph and 35 mph and by 10 mph if track speed is 36 mph or greater.
- Where the ambient air temperature is 33 degrees Celsius or higher and the fire danger level for the area is “extreme”, the railway companies listed in Annex B must ensure train speeds are reduced to 25 mph where permitted track speed is between 26 mph and 50 mph and to 30 mph where the permitted track speed is 51 mph or greater.
- From the date of issuance of this Order until October 31st, 2021, railway companies listed in Annex B must ensure that no locomotive is operated through an area where the fire danger level is “extreme” unless it has been inspected in the previous 15 days to ensure the locomotive’s exhaust passages are clear of combustible material, including oil accumulation and carbonaceous deposits in excess of 1/8 inch (3 mm) in thickness.
- Railway companies listed in Annex B must develop and implement an Interim Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Plan within 14 days following the issuance of this Order that at a minimum addresses fire detection, monitoring and response measures.
- Railway companies listed in Annex B must communicate the Interim Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Plan to municipal and other levels of local government, including Indigenous government or other Indigenous governing body, and establish a method for receiving comments for consideration.
- Railway companies listed in Annex B must complete and implement a final Extreme Weather Fire Risk Mitigation Plan within 60 days following the issuance of this Order.
For the purpose of the order, the fire danger level for an area is the fire danger level shown for the area on the interactive map that, as part of the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System, is published on the Department of Natural Resources website or on any other Government of Canada website. If more than one fire danger level is shown for the area on the interactive map, the fire danger level for the area is the highest indicated level.
This Order takes effects at 12:01 AM PDT on July 11, 2021.
Pursuant to subsection 32.1(1) of the RSA, a person to whom an order is sent under section 32.01 of the RSA may, on the date specified in the order, file a request for a review with the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (Tribunal).
If you intend to request a review of this Order, you must file a request in writing with the Tribunal, which must be postmarked no later than August 10, 2021.
Pursuant to section 32.3 of the RSA an order issued under section 32.01 of the RSA shall not be stayed pending a review requested under section 32.1, an appeal under section 32.2 or a reconsideration by the Minister of Transport under subsection 32.1(5) or 32.2.(3) of the RSA.
Director General, Rail Safety
- The Canadian National Railway Company Ashcroft Subdivision between Kamloops and Boston Bar.
- The Canadian Pacific Railway Company Thompson Subdivision between Kamloops and North Bend.
BNSF Railway Company
Canadian National Railway Company
Canadian Pacific Railway Company
CSX Transportation, Inc.
Norfolk Southern Railway Company
Union Pacific Railroad Company
VIA Rail Canada Inc.