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2024 Shortline Conference

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) is excited to host its second Shortline Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. With topics such as shortline tax credits, sustainability, safety, and labour retention, you will not want to miss this event. Registration information, draft agenda, and sponsorship opportunities are below.

Shortline railway operators are often the first link in essential Canadian supply chains. These companies support local economies while providing a lower impact way to move what Canada needs.

Monday, May 6 (13:30 – 16:30)
Tour of National Research Council Canada’s research facility (2320 Lester Road, Ottawa, ON) **Transportation to be provided if required.

Tuesday, May 7 (08:00 – 19:00)
Shortline Conference (Delta Hotel, 101 Lyon St. N. Ottawa, ON, Ballroom C, lobby level). Includes Cocktail Reception in LeBreton Room (2nd floor) from 17:00 – 19:00.

Both Days (May 6&7): Member fee: $349 plus tax
Both days (May 6&7): Non-member fee: $399 plus tax

Conference only (May 7): Member fee: $275 plus tax
Conference only (May 7): Non-member fee: $325 plus tax

Accommodation

The Delta is sold out of rooms May 6-7. However, the Marriott Ottawa (3 minute walk) has space available. The Arc Hotel (10 minute walk) also has rooms available.

Sponsorship Opportunities

The Railway Association (RAC) is hosting its second Shortline Conference on May 7 in Ottawa, Ontario. Shortline railway operators are often the first link in essential Canadian supply chains. These companies support local economies while providing a lower impact way to move what Canada needs.


Sponsors

Wabtec Corporation
Watco
T-Rail Sustainable Rail Solutions

Agenda

Monday, May 6 NRC, 2320 Lester Road, Ottawa, ON | Transportation to be provided

Time  Session Location
13:30 – 16:30Tour of National Research Council Canada’s research facility
The tour will include rail large-scale research/test facilities, instrumented hi-rail truck, data analytics lab, cold weather air brake research facility, and advanced track inspection technologies demonstration platform project
NRC, 2320 Lester Road, Ottawa, ON

Tuesday, May 7Delta Hotel, 101 Lyon St. N. Ottawa, ON

Time SessionLocation
08:00 – 09:00Continental BreakfastDelta Ottawa, Ballroom C, Lobby level
09:00 – 09:05Welcome
Marc Brazeau, President and CEO, Railway Association of Canada
09:05 – 09:50Keynote Speaker:
Through the power of recognition, Sarah equips audiences with the tools needed to decrease burnout and increase employee retention, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
Sarah McVanel, International Recognition, Culture, and Retention expert
09:50 – 10:50Shortline Railway Track Maintenance Tax Credit
In order to reduce costs and foster investment in Canada’s vital shortline rail infrastructure, a shortline railway track maintenance tax credit should be dedicated to helping shortlines invest in their infrastructure.
Moderator: Ryan Pidde, Director, Mickelson & Company
Thierry Lysiak, Vice-President Business Development, Genesee & Wyoming Canada
Tony De Thomasis, President and CEO, Essex Terminal Railway
Gerry Gionet, President, GIO Rail Holdings
Laura McNichol, Senior Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer, WATCO
10:50 – 11:10Break
11:10 – 11:40Railway Accidents Involving Crude Oil: Driving Access to Justice through Partnerships with the Railway Industry
Derek Pace, Legal Counsel, Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods
 
11:40 – 12:30How Shortlines Help Keep Supply Chains Moving
Canadians expect that when they buy something, they’ll get it. When they produce something, they trust it will get to market. Each and every day, 24/7/365, Canada’s railways are moving vital products like fuel, food, and consumer goods.
Emily Mak, Director, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, Southern Railway of British Columbia Limited
Shawn Smith, Chief Transportation Officer, Boundary Trail Railway
Sean Crick, AVP, Service Delivery, Cando Rail & Terminals
 
12:30 – 13:30Lunch 
13:30 – 14:20Sustainability Initiatives:
Canada’s railways are the most environmentally sound way to move both people and goods over land. Moving the needle on sustainability isn’t on railways alone; it takes a team of allies and partners.
Moderator: Lisa Tuningley, Founder and CEO, T-RAIL PRODUCTS
Sean Strong, WATCO
Chris Miller, Senior Director, Services Product Management, Wabtec
 14:20 – 15:20Safety in Operations:
Hear about how Canada’s railways demonstrate their safety leadership through their day-to-day operations.
Scott McDade, Enhanced Train Control Consultant
Michael Kwadrans, Head of Expansion for Ontario, Tatras Industrial
Wesley Logan, Director of Operations, Agawa Canyon Railway
15:20 – 15:45Break
15:45 – 16:15Labour and Retention – Skilled Trades
In this session, we’ll discuss the challenges that employers in the transportation industry are facing with recruitment and retention and will provide strategies to not only increase, but to maintain a diverse workforce. 
France Daviault, CEO, Canadian Apprenticeship Forum
16:15 – 16:45Safety Culture
Creating a strong safety culture is about ensuring that an entire organization—from top to bottom— is on the same page when it comes to safety. It’s about making sure everyone shares the same values, attitudes, competencies and patterns of behaviour. Hear how some of RAC’s members have improved on their safety culture by completing the safety culture assessment.
Moderator: Ben Chursinoff, Manager, Policy, Environment and Programs, Railway Association of Canada
Daniel Goodfellow, Manager of Safety, Toronto Terminals Railway
16:45Closing Remarks
17:00 – 19:00Cocktail ReceptionDelta Ottawa, LeBreton Room, 2nd floor
 

2024 Shortline Conference

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Speakers

Ben Chursinoff

Ben Chursinoff, Manager, Policy, Environment and Programs, Railway Association of Canada 

Since joining the RAC in October 2019, Ben Chursinoff has worked to advance RAC members’ needs and concerns with officials at all levels and across departments. He leads the RAC’s environment committee, safety culture improvement initiative and works on the Proximity Initiative. 

Chris Miller, Senior Director, Services Product Management, Wabtec

Chris Miller is the Senior Director of Services Product Management at Wabtec. His products push the existing diesel-burning locomotive fleet to be more reliable and fuel-efficient while growing to include energy sources such as alternative fuels, batteries, and hydrogen that are needed to support the industry’s transition to carbon neutrality.