Canadian National locomotives are seen in Montreal on Monday, February 23, 2015. The federal Liberals have laid out their proposal for rules around voice and data recorders on locomotives, specifying when companies can use the devices to address safety concerns and how workers’ privacy will be protected. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

The federal Liberals have laid out their proposal for rules around voice and data recorders on locomotives, specifying when companies can use the devices to address safety concerns and how workers’ privacy will be protected.

Legislation passed by Parliament required the government to come up with regulations for the recorders, which are similar to “black boxes” on airplanes.

Transport Canada wants to limit companies’ uses of the recorders’ data to instances where there is reason to believe that crew activities led to a collision or derailment or similar incident and only to a small window of time.

The rules are subject to a 60-day consultation period, after which the federal cabinet would have to enact the regulations, which likely won’t occur until after this fall’s election.

The 18 rail companies subject of the new rules would then have two years to have recorders installed — a process that is estimated to cost $76 million, according to a federal analysis.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the devices will make Canada’s rail system safer.

“Having these devices at the very least will help us understand when there is an accident … what was the cause of that accident and that in itself will help us to lower the possiblity that that same cause will be responsible for subsequent accidents,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. home to third most train derailments across Canada

When legislators debated the proposal two years ago, Unifor, Teamsters Canada and the federal privacy commissioner all raised concerns that the recording devices could be used for discipline that has nothing to do with a rail incident.

There were also concerns about what happens to the data on the recorders when trains cross the border with the United States.

The proposed regulations say that rail companies will have to respect requirements under the federal private-sector privacy law, including rules on how the information must be handled and who can access it and strict limits on its use to situations like federal investigations.

“It is a decision we have taken because of safety motivations, but we’re very conscious of the fact that we must be sensitive to privacy rights,” Garneau said.

“We very, very carefully, I believe, have crafted these regulations to ensure that privacy is addressed while at the same time having access to the information in a number of situations.”

And the regulations also detail what could be considered a threat to railway safety, such as using cellphones or personal entertainment devices execpt as provided by company policies, and consuming alcohol or drugs.

“We wanted to deliberately define those so there wouldn’t be any arbitrary determination of other kinds of things going on that would be considered a threat,” Garneau said.

READ MORE: B.C. train that derailed and killed three ‘just started moving on its own’

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The “King of Sailplane Aerobatics” coming to SkyFest in Quesnel

Manfred Radius has been flying since 1961, logging more than 2,000 hours in various sailplanes

Meet Quesnel’s Firesmart representative

Amanda Vibert is coordinating Firesmart workshops around town and assessing individual homes

Quesnel Crossfire season ends with a fizzle

The team was suspended from Prince George Senior Lacrosse league after forfeiting second game

Forestry Ink: The Chinchaga firestorm

Jim Hilton returns with his regular column

Wells’ Sunset Theatre unveils summer season lineup

The lineup features award-winning touring productions, play readings, concerts, and world premieres

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Give Hope Wings fundraiser launches Saturday from Pitt Meadows

Flying marathon will benefit low income Canadians needing flights for medical treatment

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read