May 17, 2017: Union Claims Cameras on Trains Violates Workers’ Privacy

A recent amendment to the Railway Safety Act mandates the installation of locomotive video and voice recorders and not everyone is happy about it. Railroad employees feel this equipment is a threat to their privacy and are concerned that the railway companies will have access to the recordings and can use it to conduct random samples to look for safety risks.
Union president Doug Finnson made it clear that the employees are unhappy about this amendment by saying “From the workers’ perspective, the government has abandoned them. “I’m particularly pissed at this.”
Transport Minister Marc Garneau responded to this concern by stating “There will be very defined times when these can be used and it’s in order to improve safety.” Mr. Finnson believes the government will not be able to control how railway companies use the information gathered from the LVVR equipment. “Transport Canada can’t enforce the regulations they have right now. I have absolutely no confidence in the employer adhering to any kinds of rules and regulations about access.”

Union claims legislation requiring video recording on trains violates workers’ privacy 

May 16, 2017: Canada’s Railways Support Mandatory Installation of Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders

Voice and video recorders will soon be installed on locomotives in Canada. Despite the privacy concerns of railroad employees, TSB and Transport Canada believe using locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR) will enhance railroad safety. The data collected will be used by TSB for accident and incident investigations, federally regulated companies to conduct analysis through random sampling in order to identify safety concerns as part of ongoing safety management, and Transport Canada for policy development.
President and CEO of Railway Association of Canada, Michael Bourque, stated “We are very pleased with the provision on locomotive voice and video recorders, this technology is working to increase safety in other jurisdictions where it has been deployed. This requirement addresses a key Transportation Safety Board recommendation that has been on its Watchlist since 2012 ”


Canada’s railways support mandatory installation of locomotive voice and video recorders to increase safety

February 16, 2017: TSB Calls for Strategies to Reduce Severity of Dangerous Goods Derailments

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is recommending Transport Canada develop strategies to reduce the severity of derailments that involve dangerous goods.

This recommendation follows the investigation into the February 14, 2015 derailment of 100 tank cars carrying petroleum crude oil. The accident caused 1.7 million liters of crude oil to spill, ignite and burn for five days. The derailment was caused when joint bars in the tracks failed. This could have been prevented, however, had previous inspections noticed fatigue cracks in the joint bars at that particular location. The pre-existing cracks in combination with cold temperatures and repetitive impacts from trains caused the joint bars to fail. During the course of the investigation it was determined that the training, on the job mentoring, and supervisory support that is provided to an assistant track supervisor are insufficient.

Kathy Fox, Chair of the TSB, stated “This accident occurred at a speed below the maximum speed permitted by the Transport Canada approved Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes. The TSB is concerned that the current speed limits may not be low enough for some trains—particularly unit trains carrying flammable liquids. We are also calling for Transport Canada to look at all of the factors, including speed, which contributed to the severity of derailments, to develop mitigating strategies and to amend the rules accordingly.”

She went on to say “The Transportation of flammable liquids by rail has been on the TSB Watchlist since 2014. While stronger tank cars are being built, the current ones will be in service for years to come. The risks will also remain until all of the factors leading to derailments and contributing to their severity are mitigated. This is the focus of the recommendation we issued today.”

TSB calls for strategies to reduce severity of dangerous goods derailments following investigation into February 2015 accident near Gogama, Ontario

February 1, 2017: WHMIS 2015 — New Hazardous Products Regulations Requirements for Canada

Canada has made some changes to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to align more closely with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
While the changes won’t officially be mandatory until June 1, 2017, suppliers are able to begin following the new requirements for hazardous products that are sold, distributed, or imported into Canada now.
Some of the important changes being made to WHMIS include more comprehensive hazard classification criteria that will now include indications on the severity of the hazards, additional hazard classes, physical hazard criteria that will now be more consistent with TDG regulations, standardized language, and standardized SDS format. In addition, employers must have an education and training in place for their employees.

WHMIS 2015

July 26, 2016: Canada Speeds Up Deadline on DOT-111 Tank Cars

On July 25, 2016, The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced Canada will begin phasing out DOT-111 tank cars as a means to transport crude oil as early as November 1, 2016. This new deadline has accelerated the phase-out date by as much as 16 months. Unjacketed DOT-111 tank cars were set to be phased out by March 1, 2017, while jacketed DOT-111 cars had a phase out date of March 1, 2018.
Replacing these tank cars will be TC-117 tank cars, which contain a thicker steel, head shields, thermal protection, and top fitting protection.
The Honourable Marc Garneau stated “Accelerating the phase-out of legacy DOT-111 tank cars in crude oil services is another crucial step in improving the safety of communities along our railway lines. By removing the least crash-resistant tank cars in service, we continue to modernize how dangerous goods are shipped in Canada and further protect Canadians and their families who live near Canada’s rail network.”

Faster timeline for phasing out DOT-111 tank cars

June 6, 2016: Transport Canada Issues Protective Direction 37

The Minister of Transport has issued Protective Direction 37, which will require retrofitted TC/DOT-111 tank cars to include top-fitting protection. The goal of the PD, which will be effective as of June 6, 2016,  is to improve the safe transportation of flammable liquids in Canada.
The previous standard for retrofitted tank cars was published on May 20, 2015 but due to technical difficulties did not include top fitting protection requirements. Since that publication, AAR has developed a way to enable top fitting protection on these tank cars.

Protective Direction 37

July 29, 2015: Transport Canada Approves New Rules For Securing Trains

Transport Canada has approved new rules regarding securement measures in an effort to prevent runaway trains. The new rules, which are in response to recommendations that were made by the Transportation Safety Board, will include a handbrake application chart for different operating situations and states that once hand brakes have been applied it must be confirmed by another employee that has an appropriate level of knowledge. These securement changes, which will be in full effect on October 14, 2015, are in direct response to the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster that killed 47 people.
Transport Canada released a statement regarding the new rules for train securement that included the following points;  “Today we have reached another important milestone in response to recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada stemming from its investigation into the Lac-Mégantic derailment……Transport Canada has approved revisions to Rule 112 of the Canadian Railway Operating Rules, establishing multiple layers of defense to secure trains and further reduce the risk of runaways…..The updated Rule 112 formalizes the provisions set out in the emergency directive and makes them permanent as well as more detailed….”

Transport Canada approves rules to secure trains in response to Lac-Mégantic

Revised Rule 112 in the Canadian Rail Operating Rules


June 30, 2015: Canada Makes Changes to Air Cargo Screening

Transport Canada has made changes to the air cargo screening process in an effort to make it more efficient. The new process will provide shippers with greater flexibility and allow them to move goods efficiently while still meeting the highest security standards. Shippers who would like to take advantage of the changes will need to apply to Transport Canada and complete a rigorous application process.

Approved shippers, which include manufacturers, retailers, agents, freight forwarders, couriers and air carriers, will also be subject to ongoing oversight and enforcement.
Once approved, shippers will be able to screen cargo at any time in the secure supply chain, from the location the cargo is packed to when it is loaded on the aircraft.

Canada Makes Changes to Air Cargo Screening


June 22, 2015: Charges Laid In Connection With Lac-Mégantic Train Derailment

Transport Canada has laid criminal charges on six former Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MM&A) employees in connection with the Lac-Mégantic train derailment that took place in July 2013. The engineer and CEO are among those charged. Three of the six former employees have already been charged with 47 counts of causing death by criminal negligence. During the investigation, Transport Canada discovered that there were not enough hand brakes applied and the handbrakes were not properly tested.

Charges laid in connection with Lac-Mégantic train derailment

June 18, 2015: Canada’s Safe and Accountable Rail Act Has Received Royal Assent

Lisa Raitt, Canada’s Minister of Transport, announced today that the Safe and Accountable Rail Act has received Royal Assent. The Safe and Accountable Rail Act is an amendment to the Canada Transportation Act. The goal of this act is to enhance railway safety and make both the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable to Canadians. This act will strengthen the liability and compensation process for federally regulated railways by amplifying insurance requirements and creating a supplemental compensation fund that will be financed by levies on crude oil shippers. The Safe and Accountable Rail Act will be effective on June 18, 2016.

Legislation to strengthen rail safety and accountability receives Royal Assent


June 6, 2015: (NPRM) Transport Canada Proposes Amendment to TDG Regulations

Transport Canada is proposing an amendment to the TDG Regulations that would revise the incident reporting requirements. The proposed amendment will also include a new definition of release, amendments to the reporting requirements to introduce circumstances under which a report is required, reporting the loss or theft of dangerous goods, exceptions where reporting obligations do not apply, and new reporting criteria for misdeclared or undeclared dangerous goods.
Comments on the proposed amendment are being accepted in writing until July 6, 2015.

Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, Part 8, Reporting requirements

May 1, 2015: (FR) DOT Releases the Final Rule on Flammable Liquids by Rail

New Tank Car Rule: DOT117:

Standards for New and Existing Tank Cars Used in HHFTs

  • 9/16” normalized TC 128 Steel (that’s 1/8 thicker than current standards for DOT111)
  • Full height head shields (current is ½ height)
  • Thermal protection and jackets (existing regulations do not require jackets or thermal protection)
  • Top fittings protection (not currently required by regulation but is required by CPC 1232)
  • Bottom Outlet Valve enhanced handle design to prevent opening during derailment

Retrofits & Phase-Outs:

  • Cars not meeting the DOT117 standard being used in ANY Flammable Liquid service must be retrofitted or phased out, including all legacy and CPC 1232 DOT111 and TC111 tank cars. They will be required to meet a “performance standard”
  • There will be retrofit/phase-out schedule which will prioritize the “least safe cars first” starting with crude oil, then ethanol.
  • New tank cars constructed after October 1, 2015 are required to meet enhanced DOT Specification 117 design or performance criteria for use in an HHFT.
  • Existing tank cars must be retrofitted in accordance with the DOT-prescribed retrofit design or performance standard for use in an HHFT.
  • Retrofits must be completed based on a prescriptive retrofit schedule. The retrofit timeline focuses on two risk factors: the packing group, and differing types of DOT-111 and CPC-1232 tank car.
  • A retrofit reporting requirement is triggered if consignees owning or leasing tank cars covered under this rulemaking do not meet the initial retrofit milestone.
  • The Canadian schedule is slightly faster (by about 7 months) because of the smaller-sized fleets and previous commitments
  • Tank cars designated for Ethanol services are assigned a slower schedule for retrofit or phase-out.
  • *HHFT: High Hazard Flammable Train: High-hazard flammable trains” (HHFT) which means “a continuous block of 20 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid or 35 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid dispersed through a train.

Reduced Operating Speeds:

  • Restrict all HHFTs to 50-mph in all areas.
  • Require HHFTs that contain any tank cars not meeting the enhanced tank car standards required by this rule operate at a 40-mph speed restriction in high-threat urban areas defined the Transportation Security Administration’s regulations at 49 CFR 1580.3.
  • Require HHFTs to have in place a functioning two-way EOT device or a DP braking system.
  • Require any high-hazard flammable unit train (HHFUT)1 transporting at least one PG I flammable liquid be operated with an ECP braking system by January 1, 2021.
  • Require all other HHFUTs be operated with an ECP braking system by May 1, 2023.
  • **HFFUT:  “high-hazard flammable unit train” (HHFUT) means a train comprised of 70 or more loaded tank cars containing Class 3 flammable liquids traveling at greater than 30 mph.

More Accurate Classification of Unrefined Petroleum-Based Products:

  • Document sampling and testing program for all unrefined petroleum-based products, such as crude oil.
  • Certify that programs are in place, document the testing and sampling program outcomes, and make information available to DOT personnel upon request.

Rail routing – Risk Assessment:

  • Railroads operating HHFTs would be required to perform a routing analysis that considers, at a minimum, 27 safety and security factors and select a route based on its findings. These planning requirements are prescribed in 49 CFR § 172.820.

Rail routing – Notification:

  • Ensures that railroads notify State and/or regional fusion centers, and that State, local and tribal officials who contact a railroad to discuss routing decisions are provided appropriate contact information for the railroad in order to request information related to the routing of hazardous materials through their jurisdictions.

For more information, please review the entire Final Rule on Flammable Liquids by Rail, the Summary developed by DOT, and DOTs Press Release.

Please contact us if we can answer any questions for you on this latest rulemaking. (844) 88-STARS or (844) 887-8277;

April 23, 2015: Transport Canada Issued Emergency Directive for HazMat Trains

Transport Canada's Minister of Transport, Honorable Minister Lisa Raitt, issued an Emergency Directive to railway companies in regards to the safe and secure transportation of dangerous goods. The Emergency Directive, which will remain in effect until August 17, 2015, requires trains to abide by a maximum speed limit of 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling in highly urbanized areas. Companies are now required to increase the number of inspections and risk assessments performed along the key routes that are being used to transport dangerous goods.

Stricter requirements to safeguard the communities along our railway lines



March 12, 2015: (PR) Transport Canada Issues an Update on TC-140 Tank Car Specifications

Transport Canada has been working on introducing a new class of tank cars for transporting flammable liquids by rail. In July 2014 Transport Canada published  a final rule concerning the building of flammable liquid tank cars to a higher standard in the Canada Gazette. The requirements at the time were intended to include thicker steel, half head shield and top fitting protection.
Since that time Transport Canada has received recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board to include even more stringent requirements for tank cars that will be transporting flammable liquids. Furthermore, Transport Canada recognizes the integrated nature of rail transport in North America and has received recommendations from the Transportation of Dangerous Goods General Policy Advisory Council that indicates a harmonized standard is essential.
Transport Canada continues to work closely with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration to develop stricter requirements for those tank cars that will be transporting flammable liquids in North America.
This new standard was previously referred to as TC-140 but will now be referred to as TC-117. The new standards will apply to any tank car that is going to be used to transport flammable liquid be jacketed, thermally protected, have thicker steel, full head shields, top fitting protection and new bottom outlet valve. In addition, the new standard will require the industry to manufacture new tank cars that meet the TC-117 requirements once it is in force.
Transport Canada would propose a risk-based approach for the implementation of the new tank cars that would be driven by the type of tank car and the flammable liquid that is being transported.

To read the complete proposed rule please visit Transport Canada's Website

March 12, 2015: Transport Canada Issues Amendment to ERAP Requirements

Transport Canada has issued an amendment to section 7.1 (6) of the ERAP that was introduced last year. The intention of the amendment is to require shippers and importers to have an ERAP in place when consigning flammable liquids in large quantities by rail tank car under UN 1202, 1203 ad 1863.
In addition, Transport Canada wants stiffer standards for the new tank cars. The new standards would point to a new class of tank cars that are specifically designed for carrying flammable liquids. They are thicker and equipped with thermal jackets.

To read the complete amendment click here

February 26, 2015: (PR) Canada Introduces Rail Safety Legislation

Canada's Minister of Transportation, Lisa Raitt, introduced the Safe and Accountable Rail Act this week. This legislation will not only improve railway safety but will also make the rail industry and crude oil shippers more accountable for their actions in Canada. The Safe and Accountable Rail Act is going to make changes to the current Canada Transportation Act and Railway Safety Act.

Some of the proposed changes include requiring federal railway companies to obtain and maintain the minimum levels of insurance. The minimum level will be determined by the type and amount of dangerous goods they are shipping.  Companies that are shipping crude oil are going to be required to pay a levy per ton of crude that is being shipped in order to build a supplementary fund that would be used to pay for damages in the event of an accident. The Minister will be given the  authority to issue a Ministerial Order that would require companies to take corrective measures should it be determined that the implementation of the Railway Safety Management System (SMS) in a way that could potentially compromise railway safety.

To read the complete article please visit Rail Resource or PR Newswire

For assistance with all of your compliance questions please visit STARS website to learn more about their  Hazmat Helpline

January 8, 2014: (FR) PHMSA Issues Final Rule Under HM-215M

PHMSA released its final rule under HM-215M today. Although the rule was issued later than planned it will take effect retroactively to January 1, 2014.Since releasing the NPRM for this rule PHMSA received numerous comments. Those comments will be discussed in the next issue of HCB Monthly. The final rule can be viewed here.

Transport Canada has also announced several amendments to the TDG Regulations. They include harmonization with the international ban on the transport of lithium metal batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft on domestic flights, incorporating Protective Direction 33 into the TDG Regulations that will require rail shippers of ethanol, crude oil, gasoline and other flammable liquids to have an approved ERAP in place and adding ERAP requirmeents for sour crude oil and alcohols nos. In addition, new UN product numbers were added for petroleum sour crude oil and biomedical waste.

November 27, 2014: (PR) Transport Canada Established New Requirement for Rail Operators

Transport Canada is now requiring rail operators to hold a Railway Operating Certificate that would allow them to operate trains in the country. This requirement falls under the Railway Safety Act and applies to both new and existing companies. Existing companies do have two years to obtain the certificate but new companies will be required to have the certificate prior to starting operations. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, stated “These new regulations are an added tool for this government to ensure that railway operations are being conducted in the safest manner possible. Railway Operating Certificates represent an additional layer of Transport Canada’s oversight program and further strengthen its enforcement regime.”
For further information please visit Hazardous Cargo Bulletin

July 2, 2014: (NPRM) Transport Canada’s New Tank Car Proposal & TDG Regulatory Amendment

On July 2, 2014 Transport Canada adopted new requirements for TC/DOT-111 tank cars that are used to transport dangerous goods by rail by incorporating the technical standard TP14877, Containers for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail (CPC 1232). The new requirements establish a minimum threshold for rail cars that transport dangerous goods, including but not limited to petroleum crude oil and ethanol.
Transport Canada is contemplating the development of specifications for an even more robust class of tank cars (Class TC-140) that will be based on both the industry and the Association of American Railroad Tank Car Committee proposals in addition to technical discussions with PHMSA. The technical discussions have led to the development of stricter requirements which include full head-shields, thicker steel, electronically controlled braking systems and improved bottom outlet valves.
Once the standard is adopted in the TDG Regulations, Transport Canada expects the industry to manufacture any new rail tank car that is coming into flammable liquid service to meet the new Class TC-140 requirements and to retrofit all TC/DOT-111 tank cars that transport flammable liquids within the time frame outlined by the proposed regulations.
Stakeholders are being asked to provide their comments regarding the new proposed Class TC-140 tank car to Transport Canada on or before September 1, 2014.
For further instructions on where to submit your comments and to read the proposal in full please visit Transport Canada: Regulatory Proposals under Development

July 2, 2014: (FR) Regulations Amending the Transportation of Dangerous Goods in Canada

On July 2, 2014 Canada issued new regulations concerning Dangerous Goods Safety Marks. There have been several changes in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations in order to update standards and harmonize requirements with those currently in the U.S. Hazardous Materials Regulations. The new regulations will go into effect on July 14, 2014.

The new Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations are as follows:

1. Add the terms “overpack” and “consolidation bin”
An “overpack” is defined as an enclosure that is used by a single consignor to consolidate one or more small means of containment for ease of handling, but is not a minimum required means of containment
A “consolidation bin” is defined as bin used in a road vehicle to secure one or more small means of containment so that, under normal conditions of transport, they will not shift in a way that might compromise their integrity; and to allow small means of containment to be added or removed during transport

2. Revise the “Limited Quantity” mark to authorize a reduced size marking on packages on which a full size mark is not able to be displayed

3. Requires that an overpack display the word “Overpack” as well as other required markings displayed on the inner packaging

4. Redefines the conditions under which a “DANGER” placard may be displayed on a large means of containment

5. Adopt new markings for organic peroxides, marine pollutants and limited quantities

6. Allows the display of 4 labels or 2 placards on intermediate bulk containers of up to 3000 liters

7. Provides an exception from placarding for certain hazard classes of dangerous goods having a gross mass of 500 kb or less in or on a road vehicle or railway vehicle

8. Require additional markings on means of containment used to transport materials which are toxic by inhalation

Read the full article in the Canada Gazette.