The government of Canada proposed legislation aimed at providing air passengers more protection and choice and improving the nation's freight rail system through investment and safety measures.
Transport Canada says the legislation, called the Transportation Modernization Act, is the result of more than a year of consultation, feedback and guidance from citizens and stakeholders across Canada. The Transportation Modernization Act would amend the existing Railway Safety Act.
Transport Canada says the proposal would promote transparency, system efficiency and fairness and includes the following key measures:
- establishing new air passenger rights;
- liberalizing international ownership restrictions for Canadian air carriers to provide travellers with more choice through increased competition;
- improving access, transparency, efficiency, and sustainable long-term investment in the freight rail sector; and
- increasing the safety of transportation in Canada by requiring railways to install locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR).
“In a vast nation like Canada, Canadians rely on economically viable modes of transportation to travel and move commodities within the country, across the border and to our ports for shipment overseas. The time has come to modernize our policies and practices to provide a safer, more competitive and respectful system that can respond to modern conditions and to Canadians’ expectations,” said Canada Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.
The legislation also takes steps to grant rail shippers added protections including new data requirements for railways on rates, service and performance and the ability for shippers to seek reciprocal financial penalties. However, one aspect that may prove controversial is the provision for long haul interswitching, which would grant so-called “captive” shippers access a competing railway where none currently exist.
Canadian Pacific said it was working closely with the Ministry of Transport to understand all of the details of the legislation before providing comment; the railroad did commend the inclusion of the LVVR directive.
“By implementing LVVR as a preventative, proactive, behavior-changing tool we will promote safe behaviors and improve safety,” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said. “We recognize the need to use this technology in a way that is respectful of our employees, and are committed to working closely with government, regulators and the unions to do so.”
Luc Jobin, president and CEO of Canadian National shared a similar thought issuing a statement that said, “Nothing is more important than safety and CN strongly supports the advancement of inward facing cameras. Regulators on both sides of the border recognize the value of these devices. We believe 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 – something we all want.”