Railway Safety to be Improved Across Canada

OTTAWA — Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre today announced that the Government of Canada will provide more than $11 million to improve safety at 80 railway crossings across Canada. Since 1994, Transport Canada has committed more than $100 million to such projects throughout the country.

"Since the grade crossing program was introduced in 1994, accidents, fatalities and injuries have decreased at rail crossings," said Mr. Lapierre. "This funding will allow us to continue to work with rail companies and communities to improve the safety of rail crossings for motorists and pedestrians throughout Canada."

Under Transport Canada’s grade crossing improvement program, eligible railway crossings are either upgraded, relocated or closed. Improvements may include installing flashing lights and gates, adding gates or extra lights to existing systems, linking crossing signals to nearby traffic lights, modifying operating circuits, or adding new circuits or timing devices. The department finances up to 80 per cent of the total cost of the improvements, with the balance provided by the railways, municipalities or provinces and territories.

"Preventing tragedy on railroad tracks is a shared responsibility," added Mr. Lapierre. "The Government of Canada provides funding for warning devices, such as lights, gates and bells, but depends on all Canadians to respect these warnings and approach rail crossings with added caution."

For this reason, Transport Canada supports two other initiatives to improve safety at railway crossings: Operation Lifesaver, a public education program of the Railway Association of Canada that has promoted safety at railway crossings since 1981; and Direction 2006, a partnership of governments, railway companies and their unions working to reduce collisions and trespassing incidents by 50 per cent from the 1995 level by the year 2006.

Funding for the grade crossing improvement program was provided for in the February 2005 main estimates and is therefore built into the existing financial framework.

Contact Information:

Irène Marcheterre
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
(613) 991-0700

Cathy Cossaboom
Transport Canada
(613) 993-0055


Click here to download the Crossings Scheduled for Improvement in PDF ( 37 KB )
Click here to download the Railway Crossing Facts in PDF ( 14 KB )
Click here to download the Release in PDF ( 11 KB )