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Canada launches Rail Safety Week

Canada launches Rail Safety Week

With over 44,000 kilometres of track across the country, and approximately 14,000 public and 9,000 private grade crossings, everyone has a role to play in railway safety.

Today, The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, launched Rail Safety Week and announced 131 new projects and initiatives that will keep Canadians safe, contribute to the reduction of injuries and fatalities, and increase public confidence in Canada’s rail transportation system. Collectively, the projects receive more than $20 million under the Government of Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program.

As part of this funding, the Government is providing renewed support to Operation Lifesaver, a national public outreach initiative whose goal is to increase public awareness about railway crossings and the dangers of trespassing. It achieves this by providing rail safety awareness briefings to schools and communities, and by developing and promoting videos, exhibits and sponsoring outreach events across Canada.

In addition to renewed support for Operation Lifesaver, Minister Garneau’s announcement included funding for:

• 125 projects that focus on infrastructure, technology and research, including safety improvements on rail property, the use of innovative technologies; research and studies; as well as the closures of grade crossings that present safety concerns, and;

• Five new regional and municipal rail safety education and awareness initiatives that focus on reducing injuries and fatalities in communities across Canada.

Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program is a $55 million, three-year initiative that provides federal funding, in the form of grants or contributions. The program’s objective is to improve rail safety, contribute to the reduction of injuries and fatalities, and increase public confidence in the Canada’s rail transportation system. Applications are now being accepted for new projects beginning in 2018-2019.


“Rail Safety is my top priority. With 44,000 kilometres of track, we all need to share the responsibility of a safe railway system in Canada. The Rail Safety Improvement Program is an essential component of our commitment to improving rail safety by collaborating with railway companies, local communities and road authorities.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau,
Minister of Transport

“People often think they can judge with their own eyes and ears how far away a train is, or they expect a train to be able to stop on a dime. The reality is, today’s trains are big and fast. They can appear slower and further away than they actually are, and can take more than two kilometres to come to a complete stop. You really don’t want to get in the way of one – either by trespassing on railway property, or trying to beat a train at a rail crossing.”

Sarah Mayes,
Interim National Director, Operation Lifesaver

Quick Facts

• Almost half of all railway-related deaths and injuries result from accidents at crossings. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing the number of these accidents by working closely with railway companies and communities to identify grade crossings that require safety improvements.

• This year, Transport Canada is funding six public education and awareness activities, 113 infrastructure projects, including grade-crossing improvements across the country and 12 technology and research projects.

• Rail Safety Week, taking place this year from April 24 to 29, is a national celebration aimed at increasing awareness of safety around railway operations and highlighting government and industry commitment to making the rail system safer for Canadians.

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