April 14, 2010 12:43 ET

Government of Canada Invests in Cross-Canada Rail Safety

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 14, 2010) - Canada's Transport Minister John Baird, Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), and Denis Lebel, Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced that the Government of Canada will upgrade high-priority rail grade crossings across the country — a move that will help to keep Canadian communities safe.

"The Government of Canada is improving safety at crossings where roads and train tracks meet," said Baird. "As part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are taking action now to upgrade rail grade crossing improvements in communities across Canada." 

"Statistics show a decline in fatalities and injuries at rail crossings and that means we are making progress," said Minister Merrifield. "This funding will enable us to continue life-saving upgrades for the safety of Canadian communities."

Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the government is providing close to $11 million under the Grade Crossing Improvement Program to upgrade 155 high-priority rail grade crossings in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Government of Canada works with the railway industry, provinces and municipalities to perform safety assessments at rail crossings and works actively to reduce the number of crossing-related injuries and fatalities. For example, the government supports the program Operation Lifesaver, a national education program that promotes awareness of the dangers around railway property to the general public.

Rail Safety Week, a weeklong Operation Lifesaver outreach campaign, will take place this year from April 26 to May 2 in more than 200 municipalities across Canada. Activities will include mock accidents, interactive kiosks, school presentations, safety blitzes and trespass enforcement initiatives.

For more information on Operation Lifesaver and Rail Safety Week, please visit:

Backgrounders with further information are attached.

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The Government of Canada is taking action to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities as a result of train/vehicle collisions in Canada, by:

  • developing a grade crossing regulation that will provide for better standards on high-speed corridors and prohibit the construction of new crossings if train speeds exceed 128 km/h;
  • finalizing modifications of a tool developed to evaluate the risk for pedestrians at grade crossings (municipalities will be informed of the results for their further assessment);
  • investing in safety at crossings located on the busy Quebec-Windsor passenger rail corridor and working to mitigate the risk of vehicle/train collisions; and
  • working with the Transportation Association of Canada to expedite the development of special signage for emergency contact numbers, as well as low clearance advance warning signs at railway crossings.

Grade Crossing Improvement Program

Almost half of all railway-related deaths and injuries result from accidents at grade crossings. Government of Canada contributions are available for safety improvements at public grade crossings that are under federal jurisdiction.

The Government of Canada is committed to reducing the number of these injuries and fatalities by working closely with railway companies and road authorities to identify grade crossings that require safety improvements. Through the Grade Crossing Improvement Program, Transport Canada funds up to 80 per cent of safety enhancement costs at approximately 80 to 100 sites across Canada every year. These sites are most often identified through:

  • an application from a road authority and/or railway company;
  • an inspection by a Transport Canada railway safety inspector, through regular monitoring or as a result of an accident;
  • a recommendation following an accident, including any made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada; and
  • a complaint concerning the safety of a crossing

Road authorities and railway companies are responsible for maintaining grade crossings. They are encouraged to contact a railway safety inspector at the appropriate Transport Canada regional office if they have any concerns regarding the safety of a crossing.

Since urban development can have a significant impact on crossing safety, municipalities are encouraged to identify and assess grade crossing safety in the early stages of any urban planning.

Some examples of eligible projects are:

  • installing flashing lights, bells and gates;
  • adding gates or extra lights to existing signal systems;
  • interconnecting crossing signals to nearby highway traffic signals;
  • modifying operating circuits within automated warning systems;
  • improving roadway alignment or grades; and
  • modifying nearby intersections and adding traffic control signals in some circumstances.


Province Projects Contribution
British Columbia 22 $952,598.00
Alberta 9 $1,352,800.00
Saskatchewan 12 $1,199,360.00
Manitoba 6 $419,360.00
Ontario 42 $4,081,199.00
Quebec 55 $1,496,813.00
New Brunswick 7 $1,119,920.00
Nova Scotia 2 $365,040.00
TOTAL 155 $10,987,090.00

For more information on the Grade Crossing Improvement Program, please visit:

This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Transport Canada, Ottawa