Auditor General slams federal government on mishandling rail safety

Lack of oversight, inadequate inspections, training after years of de-regulation


Twelve years after deregulating rail safety through the Safety Management Systems regime, the federal government cannot ensure the safety of Canada’s railways, according to the Auditor General.

“Again we see the Auditor General slap the Conservatives’ wrists over mismanaging rail safety,” said Official Opposition Transport Critic Olivia Chow. “Lack of oversight, inadequate inspections and missing quality assurance – the federal government’s list of failures is long.”

According to the Auditor General, Transport Canada doesn’t even know whether its current workforce has the competencies to oversee the safety management systems. The report also uncovered the fact that many of the planned safety audits were never completed.

"Completing only 1 out of 4 planned rail safety audits makes the federal government a safety risk,” Chow added. “The real losers in the Auditor General’s report are the communities that are put at risk from weak rail safety.”