Canada is a vast country with thousands of kilometres of railway tracks. In order to meet our mission of preventing railway related deaths and injuries, it’s important to spread our train safety message to as many people as possible across the country. One of the best avenues we have for doing this is through the participation of Operation Lifesaver Provincial Committees.
Operation Lifesaver Provincial Committees
Provincial Committees consist of representatives from Operation Lifesaver’s various stakeholders. For many committee members, their participation is voluntary and comes outside the scope of their full-time job.
Over the years we’ve had steady support from Provincial Committees in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and we are always striving to increase support in the remainder of Canada’s provinces. On that note, we are proud to announce that in February 2011, just over four years after the original committee dissolved, the Manitoba OL Provincial Committee was re-established.
Manitoba Operation Lifesaver Provincial Committee
The current Manitoba Provincial Committee consists of the following members:
- Alex Allen – Transport Canada (Committee Chair)
- Tom Bozyk - VIA Rail Canada
- Paul Leaden – CN Police
- Jim Connor – Transport Canada
- Rick Small – Teamsters Canada Rail Conference
- John Pennock – Central Manitoba Railway Inc.
- Dianne Milton – Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation
- Tom Handkamer – TCRC Provincial Legislative Representation
According to the committee’s chair, Alex Allen, re-establishing the official Operation Lifesaver presence in Manitoba was a natural fit because of a shared goal to promote train safety.
“Saving lives by preventing incidents at level crossings and as a result of trespassing, is a priority for the various railway stakeholders in Manitoba. Operation Lifesaver develops so many great activities and materials that can be used by the various stakeholders to spread the rail safety message. We recognize that it’s a national program with an important mission and felt it was important that Manitoba participate.”
Looking back on the first year
In 2011, the Operation Lifesaver Advisory Committee defined grade 7 and 8 students and professional drivers as target audiences for rail safety messaging. The Manitoba Committee spent their first year focusing on these priorities. Some of the activities they held included presentations done in elementary and junior high schools and driver’s education schools. In addition, the committee was an active participant in last year’s Rail Safety Week, setting up an information booth at the VIA Rail Station and holding a trespassing blitz at a newly constructed protected crossing at Pembina Highway and Bison
What’s ahead in 2012
For 2012, the Manitoba Committee has set promoting the TraintoDrive.net website as a main priority. In addition, the committee is looking forward to Rail Safety Week, which will take place April 30 – May 6, 2012. Tentative plans for the event include school presentations, kiosks set up at the VIA Rail terminal for two days, a pedestrian blitz for Pembina Highway and Bison Drive and trespassing enforcement blitzes with CN Police.