Meet Operation Lifesaver's Advisory Committee: Read an interview with committee member and co-chair, Luc Bourdon

This week we continue our series of blog posts featuring interviews with the members of the Operation Lifesaver Advisory Committee. These interviews will allow you to get to know the dedicated people who work together to educate Canadians on rail safety, with the goal of preventing railway related injuries and deaths. These committee members work to develop Operation Lifesaver’s national direction, set goals and priorities and offer advice to National Director, Dan Di Tota, on how best to develop and implement Operation Lifesaver’s programs. Our third interview is with the committee's co-chair, Luc Bourdon, Director General of Rail Safety for Transport Canada. Transport Canada is one of Operation Lifesaver’s stakeholders. Transport Canada is a department of the federal government that’s responsible for transportation policies and programs. It ensures that air, marine, road and rail transportation are safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible. On how long he’s been on the Advisory Committee and how it happened: “It’s been about four or five years now. Operation Lifesaver wanted to have a co-chair from one of the stakeholders and so they asked me since I am the Director General of Transport Canada.” On how long he’s been involved with Operation Lifesaver: “Before I began working for Transport Canada, I worked with the railway for 18 years. In 1992, I became involved with Operation Lifesaver when I was working as Assistant Director of Accident Prevention for CP Rail. At that time, there was a committee called the Loss Control Sub-Committee at the Railway Association of Canada and that committee worked very closely with Operation Lifesaver.” On how Operation Lifesaver is helping to achieve one of his personal goals: “Being from the railway, it’s always been a concern of mine that unfortunately, we still have people every year who are involved in incidents with trains, either at crossings or while they’re trespassing. It’s always been an important cause for me - to try and do as much as we can to reduce and if possible, eliminate, these tragic incidents. I think Operation Lifesaver is doing a great job in helping us to achieve that goal.” On the importance of Operation Lifesaver’s Advisory Committee: “I think the committee is very important. It’s great because it brings all the stakeholders to the same table to work toward the same cause: to demonstrate through education and awareness that being on or near the tracks or not paying attention when you’re at a rail crossing and disobeying signals, is risky business and you need to be cautious. It’s a goal that’s shared by all. I find it to be a very stimulating environment – we all have good ideas and we’re moving in the same direction.” On the success of Operation Lifesaver: “I think that slowly we are getting international recognition for how great Operation Lifesaver’s programs are. Other countries are now looking at what we’re doing. I remember a conference in Paris in 2008 where Dan Di Tota made a presentation on Operation Lifesaver as part of a panel that was dealing with education and awareness. Our program was really well received. Everyone wanted to know more. It was great to see how our program was attracting so much attention from an international crowd. I see a lot of enthusiasm as well from people who are involved with Operation Lifesaver, who’ve attended presentations or used the learning materials. The comments are always very positive.” Check back next week for our fourth Advisory Committee interview with Stephen Covey, Chief of Police for Canadian National Railway.