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Canada’s Rail Safety Award winners for 2022 – Railway Association of Canada

Ottawa, ON / November 28, 2022

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) is proud to announce the winners of its 2022 Safety Awards. These organizations exemplify the rail industry’s tireless commitment to making rail the safest mode of transportation from coast to coast.

“Safety is job one for Canadian railways. Every day, in communities across Canada, more than 33,000 railroaders work to deliver goods to market and people to where they are looking to go, safely” said Marc Brazeau, President and CEO, Railway Association of Canada.

RAC’s Safety Awards occur annually and recognize members that go above and beyond, as selected by the RAC’s Safety and Operations Management Committee (SOMC) — a committee reporting to RAC’s Board of Directors.

The Rail Safety Award winners for 2022 are:

CN for its Electronic Track Authority Verification (ETAV) navigation tool. In Spring 2020, CN’s senior field safety advisory group took on a challenge: use the latest technology to reduce Main Track Authority Violations (MTAV) and improve on-track employee safety. As no off-the-shelf solutions existed for their desired use case, the CN Engineering, I&T Operational Technology, and Safety teams worked together to develop their ETAV solution. CN rolled out the new technology 18 months later, providing a new layer of protection for hundreds of employees and on-track vehicles daily.

“At CN, safety is a core value which means we have an uncompromising commitment to the health and safety of our employees, the customers we serve, and the communities and environment in which we operate. This tool integrates multiple systems and the latest technology to keep our field teams safe every day, providing an audible warning as employees approach the limits of their track authority” said Rahim Karmali, Chief Engineer, Engineering Technology and Supply Chain, CN. “ETAV is a great example of collaboration and teamwork between Engineering and the Operational Technology Geographic Information System team. Bringing innovation and improving safety for our colleagues” said   Luc Fiset, Senior Director Operational Technology, CN.

Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) for its Operation Lifesaver decals initiative. This program involves outfitting all Rail Infrastructure Department vehicles with “Look, listen, live” decals — a key safety message from the partners at Operation Lifesaver.

The employee who pitched this initiative recognized that the public often sees Department vehicles on the road or at a railway crossings. The employee also saw that the rears of the vehicles were blankThe decals provide a dynamic, far-reaching, and low-cost opportunity to spread Operation Lifesaver’s message of “Look.Listen.Live.” Operation Lifesaver loved the idea so much, they shared the idea with their network and included it in their annual report.

“Ontario Northland is proud to increase awareness about rail safety in the communities we serve by highlighting Operation Lifesaver’s message on our infrastructure vehicles. Signal Maintainer Shawn Harman enthusiastically brought forward this idea recognizing that adding decals was a low-cost and effective way to reach people as these vehicles are highly visible in Northern Ontario.” – Paul-Andre Lajeunesse, Director of Rail Infrastructure

Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRY) for its Field Level Risk Assessment forms. The initiative involves standardizing the process for assessing hazards in the field prior to starting work and the control measures for mitigating or avoiding risk. The risk assessment forms are customized to manage risks across the company in key activity areas:

  • Job Briefing and Risk Assessment in Operations
  • Field Level Risk Assessment in Mechanical
  • Contractor Field Level Risk Assessment for third-party contractors.

The forms are part of SRY’s three-tier risk assessment process. The first tier of risk assessment involves executive leaders and department managers. The second involves supervisors. The third involves field level employees who are directly engaged in performing the work.

“Conducting field level risk assessments have always been a part of working safely. What this initiative adds is a systematic process that focusses people on the sequential steps in a risk assessment, and engages people to proactively identify the risks and implement control measures to prevent accidents and incidents,” says Emily Mak, Director, Corporate Affairs and General Counsel, Southern Railway of British Columbia.

Metrolinx for its “System Safety Assurance” program, which includes across-the-board improvements to ensure the highest safety standards are applied to transportation projects. Metrolinx has developed and launched a new System Safety Assurance (SSA) Program which provides a robust, transparent, auditable and documented Governance Framework for both business-as-usual and change projects.

Metrolinx also instituted certification and performance committees to facilitate the system safety acceptance process and to obtain and maintain approval (consent to operate). The SSA Program also includes the development of a safety risk model and easy-to-use online significance assessment tool to inform risk-based decision making, in addition to new training to ensure consistent implementation results.

“I am very pleased to receive the award from the RAC. Safety is our top priority and is embedded in everything we do and we will continue to work with staff and partners to raise standards and reduce incidents,” says Martin Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer (GO Transit and UP Express) and Chief Safety and Security Officer, Metrolinx.

VIA Rail Canada (VIA) for its Simulator Training Program and Facilities initiative. This program saw light in 2015, and was fully materialized with the commissioning of VIA’s final phase of simulators and training facilities in 2021.

After years of research, trend analysis and close collaboration with its provider, VIA Rail developed unique, ultra-realistic simulators to recreate railway occurrences. VIA Rail analyzed incidents across North America and focused on causes and contributing factors to develop tools to simulate and teach safety-related best practices thus mitigating and minimizing human factor-based incidents. These practical, realistic scenarios allow students to better identify and manage their own cognitive vulnerabilities and ensure they remain focused on the tasks at hand.

“VIA Rail’s simulator training program exemplifies our commitment to using technology in a meaningful way to improve operational safety,” says Martin R Landry, VIA Rail’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The program breaks the standard mold of training student Locomotive Engineers, as it expands its focus beyond conventional train handling principles. By creating an immersive training environment and centering our attention on crew resource management (CRM) principles, VIA is able to provide additional training value and increased safety for our passengers and crew.”

The RAC would like to congratulate all the winners as well as all those who applied.


About the Railway Association of Canada

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) represents close to 60 freight and passenger railway companies—railways that transport tens of millions of passengers and around $320 billion worth of goods across our country each year. RAC advocates on behalf of its members and associate members to ensure that the rail sector remains globally competitive, sustainable and, most importantly, safe. Learn more at www.railcan.ca.

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Chris Day