Sudbury

New rail safety rules may not reveal more about dangerous goods: watchdog

Municipalities like Sudbury could soon have more information about dangerous materials rolling through on freight trains.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has lobbied for cities to have more information about hazardous materials moving by train. (Connell Smith/CBC)

Municipalities like Sudbury could soon have more information about dangerous materials rolling through on freight trains.

The federal government introduced legislation last week to beef up rail safety.

But what exactly rail companies will have to share with municipalities is still not clear.

Both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific rail lines run through the City of Greater Sudbury.

CN Rail says it provides a confidential list to the city of dangerous goods it carries, based on its last 12 months of train traffic.

That information is given so the city can develop emergency response plans — but it can't be made public.

Dan Hammond of Transport Action Ontario said he's doubts the new federal legislation introduced last week to bolster rail safety will change that.

“The fear is, if public information gets out ... there may be some NIMBY ['Not In My Backyard'] movements to say, 'ok, well relocate the railway line.”

The rail safety legislation is a response to recent derailments and explosions involving crude oil, such as the one near Gogama in northern Ontario earlier this month.

That crash was in a remote area, and no one was hurt.

But the disaster in Lac Megantic Quebec, which killed 47 people, showed how devastating a crash in a populated area can be.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities lobbied for cities to have more information about hazardous materials moving by train.

Now that those powers are set to become law, the federation is meeting with Transport Canada to determine how that will work.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now