This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
In a latest announcement, Conservative government has made it compulsory for railways to start notifying municipalities about goods it is transporting through their jurisdictions, though it admits at the same time, that this development is not intended to circumvent a future incident like the July derailment that demolished the heart of a Quebec town, killing 47 people.
Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt, confessed during the announcement on Wednesday that her directive on railway disclosure was implementation of a request made by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities prompted by the incident of runaway train carrying crude oil which exploded in the center of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July. It was elaborated that railways will now be obligated to provide statistics data detailing annual information on the volume and nature of dangerous goods being transported, as this it is aimed to be used by communities to conduct risk assessments and emergency response planning, along with training firefighters and other first responders. Raitt admitted that “this part isn’t about prevention. This part is about response.”
Welcoming the decision, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Claude Dauphin, stated that “the Lac-Megantic tragedy, and recent derailments in other parts of the country, have underscored the critical role that municipalities play in planning for and responding to rail emergencies involving dangerous goods.” However, criticizing the same decision, opposition leader Thomas Mulcair labeled it as a Band-Aid solution and alleged that “informing the public three months or one year later is not anything to brag about.”