Mike Cormier awarded 2013 Roger Cyr Award for outstanding contribution to rail safety

OTTAWA, May 2, 2013 – As part of its 11th annual Public-Rail Safety Week (PRSW), Operation Lifesaver (OL), Canada’s national public rail safety program, today announced Mike Cormier of Halifax is the recipient of the Roger Cyr award for his railway safety efforts that have helped diminish crossing and trespassing incidents in the Maritimes and Nova Scotia in particular.

This year’s PRSW theme is A Shared Responsibility, and Mr. Cormier has promoted the public’s awareness of rail safety through his work as an active member of the Nova Scotia Operation Lifesaver (NSOL) committee since 2008. On top of presenting to schools and community groups, he participates by conducting crossing blitzes and mock scenarios, engaging local media and serving as the committee’s secretary and treasurer.

“Mr. Cormier’s background, knowledge and experience make him a very deserving winner of this year’s Roger Cyr award,” said Mike Regimbal, national director of Operation Lifesaver. “He understands that all rail crossing and trespassing incidents are avoidable, and his record as a volunteer speaks volumes about his desire to educate people, prevent needless occurrences and save lives.”

Mr. Cormier’s value as a volunteer in Nova Scotia is backed by a long career in the rail sector, mainly as a locomotive engineer with CN Rail and as an active member on its safety committee.

Nova Scotia boasts one of the best rail safety records in the country. According to the Transportation Safety Board, the province was incident-free in the first quarter of 2013. Additionally, there was only one crossing accident in 2012 and there has not been a fatality or serious injury in the province since 2010.

While crossing and trespasser incidents either flat-lined or decreased across the Maritimes in 2012, the Canada-wide figures were less encouraging. Year-over-year, accidents increased by 10 per cent, fatalities by 11 per cent and serious injuries by 23 per cent from 2011.

There are some 37,000 public, private and pedestrian highway/railway crossings in Canada and most collisions occur within 40 km of the person’s home.

Named after the founder of Operation Lifesaver in Canada, the Roger Cyr Award for Public-Rail Safety began in 1981 and is a joint initiative of Operation Lifesaver, the Railway Association of Canada and Transport Canada. The award is open to all active Operation Lifesaver partners and volunteers who undertook efforts to improve railway safety and encouraged others to follow suit throughout 2012.

Operation Lifesaver spreads its motto of “Look, Listen and Live” through its many year-long initiatives that complement PRSW, including interactive kids websites, online new and professional driver education modules, and social media outreach on Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, OL’s network of volunteers conducts more than 500 rail safety presentations and activities across Canada each year.

About Operation Lifesaver

Established in Canada in 1981, Operation Lifesaver is a national public-rail safety program sponsored by Transport Canada and the Railway Association of Canada. Through partnerships with provincial safety councils, police, railways, the trucking industry and community groups, Operation Lifesaver is dedicated to saving lives by educating Canadians about the hazards surrounding highway/railway crossings and trespassing on railway property. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/operationlifesaver
Twitter: @oplifesaver

For more information, please contact:

Alex Paterson
Railway Association of Canada

Mike Regimbal
National Director
Operation Lifesaver

Paul Goyette
Railway Association of Canada