OTTAWA, ON - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) welcomes the federal government's plan to establish a set of minimum insurance requirements for rail companies and to impose levies on companies that ship crude oil.
For years FCM has lead the call for new measures to prevent the downloading of rail safety and emergency response costs to local taxpayers.
"Today's announcement on insurance and liability responds directly to FCM's call for a comprehensive approach that makes railways and crude oil shippers pay the full costs of rail disasters, and not leave municipalities and taxpayers footing the bill," said FCM President Brad Woodside.
Under the proposed legislation, railway companies will need to carry up to one billion dollars of insurance depending on the quantity of dangerous goods they ship. In addition, shippers of crude oil will now have to pay a levy on each tonne of crude transported.
"This new legislation on insurance is a very good step, and we are hoping that Transport Canada will quickly study expanding the new levy on crude oil shippers to other dangerous goods," said the chair of FCM's National Rail Safety Working Group Pauline Quinlan, the mayor of Bromont, Quebec.
FCM is encouraged by the government's plan to increase the Minister of Transport's power to regulate railway safety including the authority to order corrective actions. This change along with new regulations that will allow the Minister to require railways to share information with municipalities are positive improvements to overall rail safety. FCM expects that once the measures are enacted the government will ensure they are fully implemented.
FCM's National Municipal Rail Safety Working Group will continue to advocate to the federal government on the municipal sector's concerns related to rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods. Next week, FCM's Rail Safety Working Group will meet with Transport Minister Lisa Raitt to discuss the range of measures contained in today's new legislation.