Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian mayors face security pushback over rail safety demands

Municipal leaders have been asking Ottawa to provide more information about hazardous train cargo



OTTAWA—A push by municipal leaders to know more about hazardous rail cargo rattling through their communities is raising security concerns in the federal government.

A string of derailments in recent months has the Federation of Canadian Municipalities worried that local first responders haven’t done the proper emergency planning or training for some of the situations they’ve faced.

Since the devastating crash in Lac-Megantic, Que., in July that killed 47 people, municipal leaders have been asking Ottawa to provide more information—in advance—about what’s on the rails so they can prepare for worst-case scenarios.

Claude Dauphin, the president of the municipal federation, says Transport Canada officials are concerned that any advance information on the movement of hazardous goods could fall into the wrong hands.

Dauphin says municipal leaders share that concern and are not looking for individual cargo manifests, but need to have a basic understanding of all dangerous goods that roll through their towns.

Transport Canada did not respond to questions about the nature of its security issues but did say in an email that if municipalities want to know what’s on the trains, they can ask the rail carriers.

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