Dangerous Goods

RAC Dangerous Goods Team

One of the primary activities of RAC is to promote the safe handling of dangerous goods. Its aim is to make rail the safest and most efficient mode of transport. This means ensuring rail cars carrying dangerous goods meet strict standards, that consignments are properly packaged, labeled, placarded and documented, and that carriers handle the rail cars safely.

The chemicals and petroleum products that are essential to our quality of life - from purifying the water we drink, to the fuels we use to heat our homes and operate our vehicles - represent approximately 12 per cent of all rail traffic moved in Canada on an unencumbered, private right of way. That's why rail is the safest mode of transportation of dangerous goods. In fact dangerous goods shipments arrive at their destination 99.98 per cent of the time incident free.

Since its inception in 1999, the RAC Dangerous Goods Team has assisted its members with the issues and challenges that come with the transportation of dangerous goods across the 61,000 kilometres of track in Canada.

The RAC team's role is to serve its members and the shipping community by promoting the safe transportation of dangerous goods as well as informing railway and shipper employees of existing safe industry best practices and by ensuring that the regulations are applied consistently.

Education and Awareness

The DG Team specialists provide information sessions, support and guidance to its members, shippers and the public. This includes education in the regulations, proper preparation of shipping papers, packaging selection, the safe loading and unloading of rail cars and other containers. The specialists also play an active role in transportation community awareness and in emergency response preparedness by assisting in the development of industry-based dangerous goods training packages.

The team works closely with the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., the Bureau of Explosives and other industry and chemical producer committees in the development of industry standards, associated technical matters and in encouraging their application in Canada.

Inspections and Audits

The RAC DG Team performs audits and inspections at member yards to ensure that the cars and containers that carry dangerous goods comply with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations and AAR (Association of American Railroads) Mechanical requirements. These inspections are confidential and are reviewed prior to departure from the site by the means of a written report.  In addition, the DG Team also assists RAC members in correcting any anomalies discovered during these audits/inspections.

The specialists carry out independent and confidential inspections at Petroleum and Chemical plants for regulatory compliance.

Emergency response advice and assistance

Commensurate with their knowledge of tank car design, construction and damage assessment, RAC DG specialists provide advice and expertise to rail personnel responsible for handling incidents involving dangerous goods.

This includes liaison with customers and emergency response contractors to obtain additional expertise and specialized equipment, as required. They also assist with emergency response plans. The specialists are on-call for emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

RAC/TTCI Partnership

The creation of a Canadian DG specialist team is a joint initiative of the RAC and the Transportation Technology Center Inc., a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads.

Members of the RAC Dangerous Goods Team are located in strategic points in Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and Saskatoon).


Dangerous Goods Team:
Mr. Andy Ash
Director, Dangerous Goods (Toronto)

Mr. Jean-Pierre Couture
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Specialist - (Montréal)

Mr. Curtis Myson
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Specialist - (Edmonton)

Mr. Gary Bauer
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Specialist - (Saskatoon)

Railroad Tank Cars -
Fast Facts

Railroads in general do not own rail tank cars; the vast majority are owned by leasing companies or rail customers to ship products. Click here for the full factsheet.

Click here
for video of BNN interview with RAC President and CEO, Michael Bourque.

Railway Emergency Response Course
This 40+ hour course is a must attend by Railway and Industry personnel, First Responders, E/R Contractors, and Regulators. Click here for more details.

2014 RAC Training and Inspection Rates
Please click here for more details.

Learn more about RAC's Dangerous Goods Team offerings. Download "Ensuring the safe transportation
of Essential Goods"


©2014 The Railway Association of Canada. All rights reserved.

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