Railway Safety Act
The Canadian rail system includes both federal and provincial railways. Railways that cross provincial boundaries are governed by federal legislation, while railways that operate strictly within the boundaries of the province are governed by provincial legislation.
On April 1, 2004, British Columbia harmonized its railway safety legislation with that of the federal government by bringing the Railway Safety Act (RSA) into force. British Columbia's RSA adopts the technical regulations, rules and standards of the federal legislation.
Under the RSA, a Registrar of Railway Safety is established. The Registrar may issue operating permits to eligible railway companies, and, if appropriate, may exempt permit holders from certain provisions. The Registrar also has the authority to apply terms and conditions to an operating permit, and under certain circumstances, may cancel or suspend an operating permit.
Every provincial railway company must comply with the adopted provisions under the RSA, and obtain an operating permit before April 1, 2005. New railways must obtain an operating permit prior to the start-up of operations.
The RSA will enhance safety by requiring railway companies to implement and maintain a safety management system. This formal framework sets out the company's rules and procedures, responsibilities and authorities, and monitoring and evaluation processes.
Under the RSA, the Province may delegate railway inspection and accident investigation services to independent agencies, allowing B.C. to access specialized expertise.
Operating Permits Issued to Provincial Railways (2004-present)