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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Road washout affecting section of Highway No. 3 near Manning Park

Road maintenance crews are on the scene, with an almost two kilometre long stretch impacted

CBC Bearcats hire Rebecca Garner as women’s volleyball head coach

Abbotsford-based team hires former Bearcat, Briercrest star to lead program

Children’s author hopes public can grant father’s wish to see work in Abbotsford library

Dawn Doig’s father recently died from COVID-19 after staying at Worthington Pavilion

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Most Read