Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt announced today that the federal
government has introduced Bill C-52, the Safe and Accountable
Rail Act. Bill C-52 would significantly tighten the
regulation of crude oil rail transportation in Canada in three
ways: by imposing a new levy on rail shipments of crude oil to
create a compensation fund for accident victims, by increasing
insurance requirements, and by imposing absolute (no-fault)
liability on railroads for crude oil accidents.
1. Levy / Compensation Fund
The federal government will charge a fee per tonne of crude oil
shipped, which will be used by the federal government to fund any
cleanup in excess of a shipper's insurance limits. The
fee would be equal to $1.65 per tonne, or approximately 23¢
2. Absolute Liability
In addition, the proposed Act would significantly alter
railroads' liability for releases of crude oil.
For spills involving crude oil, railroads would be liable for
all damage caused, without proof of fault or negligence, up to the
limit of their insurance. This absolute liability would not
apply to accidents caused by war or insurrection. The
railroads would not be entitled to rely on the limit of liability
in cases of accidents resulting from acts or omissions carried out
with intent to cause the accident, or acts or omissions carried out
reckless and with the knowledge that the accident would probably
For dangerous goods other than crude oil, the existing
compensation system (requiring proof of fault) would continue to
3. Minimum Insurance Requirements
The minimum insurance requirements railways transporting
dangerous goods are being substantially increased, to between $25
million and $1 billion (depending on the amount of dangerous goods
shipped). The major rail carriers in Canada will require $1
billion in coverage, and a formula is provided to determine the
coverage required for other carriers.
Because the changes to the insurance regime are so significant
(both in regards to limits of liability and as a result of the
imposition of absolute liability), the requirement for additional
insurance will be phased in over a period of several years.
The new Act would grant the Minister additional powers to set
specific safety rules for railroads, and new regulations would
require railroads to integrate safety into their day-to-day
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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