OTTAWA, Ont.--The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, issued the following statement today in response to the release of the Transportation Safety Board's (TSB) final report from its investigation into the July 6, 2013 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec:
"Canadians will always remember what happened in Lac-Mégantic, and today, as the TSB concludes its investigation, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and residents of Lac-Mégantic. They continue to be foremost in our minds as we, as a government, take further action to improve railway safety for all Canadians.
"Shortly after the tragedy, I travelled to the town and I witnessed the devastation of properties and families. Our government took decisive action and continues to act to ensure the safety and integrity of Canada's railway system. We have accepted and are implementing every one of the TSB's prior recommendations arising from the investigation at Lac-Mégantic, leading up to today's report.
"The TSB has concluded that the rules were not followed. The TSB report indicates that insufficient hand brakes were applied to the train and that the hand brakes were not tested appropriately. As you know, criminal charges have been laid by the Sûreté du Québec, and this is now before the courts.
"Following the events of July 2013, Transport Canada responded to early advisories from the TSB, and took immediate action by establishing a two-person minimum for locomotive crews on trains carrying dangerous goods, and by imposing stricter rules for securing unattended trains.
"Since then, the government has directed Transport Canada to take further measures, including:
Removing the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service;
Introducing new safety standards for DOT-111 tank cars, and requiring those that do not meet the new standards to be phased out by May 1, 2017;
Requiring railway companies to slow trains transporting dangerous goods and introduce other key operating procedures;
Requiring emergency response plans for even a single tank car carrying crude oil, gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and ethanol; and,
Creating a task force that meets regularly and brings municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers together to strengthen emergency response capacity across the country.
"The department has also moved to enhance inspections, documentation and follow-up for railway safety and the transport of dangerous goods, including more frequent inspections at sites where petroleum products are transferred from one mode of transport to another, for example from truck to rail. Transport Canada has also proposed or introduced fines, mandatory certificates, and tough new regulations and reporting requirements," said the Minister.
"The department remains committed to working with its partners, all levels of government, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, international partners, and others to continually improve the safety of Canada's railway system," the Minister said.