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Ensuring Canadian Rail’s Leadership Role in Canada’s Climate Change Solution

Ottawa – Canada is working hard to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation sources, and Canadian railways are committed to doing in their part to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce transportation-related emissions.

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) has filed with Transport Canada (TC) its latest Locomotive Emissions Monitoring (LEM) report. It shows a decline in both GHG intensity and Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs) despite increases in freight and passenger rail traffic across the country.

Annual LEM reports are among the requirements of a multi-year memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between TC and the RAC, which date back to 1995. The current MoU is in place until 2022. It calls for the development of a comprehensive pathway document for aligning government and industry efforts to reduce emissions produced by the railway sector. RAC and TC look forward to collaborating on this pathway.


“Our way of life and Canada’s growth are tied closely to the environment. We continue to take action to protect our environment and grow our economy. Working in partnership with railway companies, we can reduce emissions and ensure a cleaner future for all Canadians.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“Canada’s railways share the public’s concerns over climate change, and we support the government’s actions to encourage the shift from higher- to lower-emitting transportation modes. Freight and inter-city railways have already improved their fuel efficiency by more than 40 and 55 per cent respectively since 1990. All RAC members are committed to doing their part and will further reduce their GHG emissions by 2022.”
Marc Brazeau, President & CEO, Railway Association of Canada

“Reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation are critical to Canada’s environment and economic well-being and core to Pollution Probe’s work. Pollution Probe is excited to help further emissions reductions in the railway sector through innovation, research and partnerships with key stakeholders such as government departments, railways, and supply chain partners.”
Christopher Hilkene, Chief Executive Officer, Pollution Probe


Quick facts

  • Canada is committed to reducing total GHG emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The transportation sector plays a key role in achieving these reductions.
  • In 2016, transportation accounted for approximately 25 per cent of Canada’s GHG emissions.
  • Rail accounts for less than one per cent of Canada’s GHG emissions and is one of the least GHG-intensive modes of transportation for goods and people.
  • Rail is four-to-five times more fuel-efficient than trucks. A single rail locomotive can remove up to 300 freight trucks from taxpayer-funded roads, and a single passenger rail car replaces of dozens of vehicles from our congested road networks.

Associated links


Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

RAC Communications
Railway Association of Canada, Ottawa