The Canadian federal government recently proposed new regulations under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. Trains transporting dangerous goods can be particularly vulnerable to misuse or sabotage, given the harmful nature of the goods and the extensive and accessible nature of the railway system. To mitigate these risks and to better align Canadian standards with international standards, Transport Canada is proposing the introduction of risk-based regulations for the transportation of dangerous goods by rail in Canada.

If eventually promulgated, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Rail Security Regulations (referred to as the Rail Security Regulations) will strengthen the security by requiring rail carriers and consignors to proactively engage in security planning processes and manage security risks, by introducing the following elements:

security awareness training for all employees;
security plans that include appropriate measures to address assessed risks; and
security plan training for employees with duties related to the security plan or security sensitive dangerous goods.
Rail carriers would also be required to

conduct security inspections of railway vehicles containing dangerous goods for which a placard is required when accepted for transport and when placed in a train;
report potential threats and other security concerns to the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre (CANUTEC); and
have a rail security coordinator.

The proposed Regulations are expected to have a positive impact on public security, by increasing the likelihood that terrorist activities would be detected and prevented, and by minimizing the consequences should an incident occur, such as loss of life, property damage, environmental damage, and reduced international trade flows. The proposed Regulations would also enhance regulatory alignment with the United States, to facilitate the cross-border movement of dangerous goods by rail.

The proposed Regulations are expected to result in costs to rail carriers and consignors and the Government of an estimated $18 million over a 10-year period (present value). As with the analysis of any security proposal, it is difficult to quantify the benefits; however, it is expected that the positive impact on public security would outweigh the associated costs.