Vol. 147, No. 10 — May 8, 2013


SI/2013-50 May 8, 2013


Order Fixing May 1, 2013 as the Day on which Certain Provisions of the Safer Railways Act and the Railway Safety Act Come into Force

P.C. 2013-418 April 25, 2013

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Transport, pursuant to subsection 45(1) of the Safer Railways Act (“the Act”), chapter 7 of the Statutes of Canada, 2012, fixes May 1, 2013 as the day on which sections 2 to 6, subsection 7(1), sections 8 and 9, subsection 11(1), section 13, subsection 14(1), sections 15 to 31 and subsection 32(1) of the Act, paragraph 41(2)(h) of the Railway Safety Act, as enacted by subsection 32(2) of the Act, subsection 32(3) and sections 33 and 34 of the Act, paragraph 46(h) of the Railway Safety Act, as enacted by section 35 of the Act, and sections 36 to 42 of the Act come into force.


(This note is not part of the Order.)


The Order fixes May 1, 2013, as the day on which all provisions of An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act (the Act), other than sections 10, 12, 43 and 44, subsections 7(2), 11(2) and 14(2) to (5) of the Act and paragraphs 41(2)(g) and 46(g) of the Railway Safety Act [as enacted by subsection 32(2) and section 35 of the Act], come into force.


This Order will bring into force amendments to the Railway Safety Act (RSA) to improve rail safety in Canada.


The Act received Royal Assent on May 17, 2012. The sections being brought into force by this Order will make several changes to Canada’s federal rail safety regime, including

  • strengthening the Department’s enforcement powers by introducing an administrative monetary penalty scheme, and increasing existing judicial penalties;
  • reflecting the central importance of safety management systems, and including provisions for an “accountable executive” for safety, and, in the case of a railway company, an internal non-punitive reporting system by railway employees;
  • clarifying the authority and responsibilities of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in respect of railway matters, including the responsibility for the development and regulation of matters to which the RSA applies, the authority to enter into coordination agreements with the Canadian Transportation Agency and the authority to order a company to provide information and documentation for the purposes of ensuring compliance;
  • expanding regulation-making authorities generally, and including such areas as environmental protection, fire prevention and control, fees and charges and administrative monetary penalties; and
  • allowing for clarification of the rule-making process by introducing the authority to make regulations setting out the process for the formulation, revision and amendment of rules and by permitting third parties to develop and submit rules on behalf of a company.

Many of these changes respond to recommendations of an independent RSA review panel report, released in 2008, and subsequent recommendations of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (SCOTIC) following a study of rail safety.

Subsections 7(2) and 14(2) to (5) of the Act will come into force on the day on which the first regulations under section 20.2 of the RSA, relating to the formulation and revision of rules, come into force.

Sections 10, 12, 43 and 44 and subsection 11(2) of the Act and paragraphs 41(2)(g) and 46(g) of the RSA [as enacted by subsection 32(2) and section 35 of the Act], implementing aspects of the new railway operating certificate requirement, will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by Order of the Governor in Council, once related regulations have been developed.


By bringing into force these amendments, the Government will improve the safety of Canada’s national railway system and enhance accountability, transparency and enforcement. The amendments will encourage rail companies to maintain a culture of safety and will penalize rule breakers. Further, a new regulation-making authority will increase the importance of environmental management in the RSA by requiring the railway industry to operate in an environmentally responsible manner.


The implementation of the Act is the result of wide consultations with relevant parties. Through the processes surrounding the RSA panel review, the SCOTIC study and through fora such as the Advisory Council on Railway Safety, railway companies, industry associations, employees, unions, other affected federal departments, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and other key stakeholders were consulted regarding the proposed legislative amendments. In addition, SCOTIC conducted two weeks of hearings concerning the Act and heard and received submissions from a number of witnesses and stakeholders, including industry and union representatives.

Departmental contact

Susan Archer
Regulatory Affairs
Rail Safety
Transport Canada
427 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5
Telephone: 613-990-8690
Fax: 613-990-7767
Email: susan.archer@tc.gc.ca