The Government of Canada is set to implement new regulations that require railways to install video and audio recording devices in the cabs of locomotives to boost safety.
Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said these reforms will be introduced next year as part of efforts to address longstanding inadequacies with the country’s rail transportation policy.
Garneau said: “We have already moved to strengthen the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The changes will better protect consumers by giving government new powers to compel vehicle manufacturers to recall and repair defective vehicles at no cost to the owner of the vehicle.”
In line with recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board, the recording devices in locomotives would provide critical information that can be used during accident investigations of the future, while protecting the privacy of employees.
Reuters quoted Canadian National Railway chief executive Luc Jobin saying: "This technology is a powerful and important tool in the investigative process to get to a better understanding of causation, which will lead to improved safety practices.”
The latest move comes after the 2013 train derailment crash that killed 47 people in the Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
Jobin added that the government also plans to bring forward the review of the Railway Safety Act to 2017 from 2018 to improve railway safety.
Commending the government’s initiative, the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA) executive director Wade Sobkowich said: "This is an important day for not only grain shippers but for every grain farmer across the country who relies on dependable and accountable rail service.
"The fact that shippers have had no way to hold the railways responsible when commitments are broken has been the greatest shortcoming of the old legislation.
"The federal government is proposing to amend the Canada Transportation Act to give shippers the statutory right to negotiate, and if need be arbitrate, meaningful penalties into Service Level Agreements."
Image: Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau presenting Transportation 2030, his plan for the future of transportation in Canada at the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal. Photo: courtesy of the Government of Canada.