News release

Significant Delays Hinder Transportation Safety in Canada

Gatineau, Quebec, 3 May 2012 – Highlighting outstanding safety concerns with the transportation system, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its annual reassessments of responses to Board recommendations. There were some advances, but challenges still remain.

Read reassessment

“When investigations uncover serious safety deficiencies, we make recommendations so that future accidents may be avoided,” explained Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. “That is why we look to regulators and industry for the effective and timely implementation of our recommendations.”

Safety in Canada's rail industry saw positive movement in 2011–12, with four recommendations attaining the Board's highest rating of “fully satisfactory.” Safety at railway crossings, however, continues to pose significant risks, as recommendations targeting the adoption of the Grade Crossing Regulations, signage for low ground clearance vehicles, vehicle collision defenses in the high speed corridor and emergency contact signage remain unresolved. Despite recent action taken by Transport Canada (TC) to review the issue of locomotive voice recorders, the Board is concerned that in the absence of this technology, data critical to our investigations will not be captured.

In the marine sector, safety has improved slightly. Following a number of regulatory changes by TC impacting voyage data recorders and emergency preparedness on passenger ferries, the TSB has reassessed TC's responses to two recommendations as fully satisfactory. With eleven recommendations pertaining to small passenger and small fishing vessels still outstanding – some dating as far back as 1992 – the safety of these vessels remains a top concern for the Board.

In contrast to the rail and marine sectors, only one air recommendations achieved a “fully satisfactory” assessment, leaving thirty two active recommendations with significant room for improvement. Since 2000, the Board has made five recommendations aimed at enhancing crew resource management, which have just recently received TC's priority status. TC has also submitted several proposed amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council. While little action has been taken since, the Board is pleased by TC's pilot project, which will fast-track four recommendations made in 2011.

“Every year we take stock of whether improvements have been made and what still needs to be done to address important safety issues,” added Tadros. “This year there is some progress, and that is encouraging, but in many areas we still see safety risks, risks that will persist until concrete action is taken.”

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053