Home / News Releases / Fourth Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Railway Association of Canada and the Federal Government for Reducing Locomotive Emissions

Fourth Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Railway Association of Canada and the Federal Government for Reducing Locomotive Emissions

The Railway of Canada (RAC) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Transport Canada to establish voluntary reduction targets for emissions produced by locomotives in Canada. This is the fourth MOU signed by RAC and the federal government since 1995, and it demonstrates the rail industry’s long-time commitment to reducing locomotive emissions.

“The rail industry moves nearly 70 per cent of the country’s intercity freight and 84 million passenger-trips each year, yet it produces less than four per cent of Canada’s transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions,” said Marc Brazeau, RAC’s President and CEO. “We are proud of our members’ deep commitment to reducing emissions and managing their environmental footprint.”

In Canada, rail is four times more fuel efficient than truck, while a single freight train can remove roughly 300 trucks from the country’s congested road and highway network.  If just 10 per cent of truck traffic was moved by rail instead, transportation-related emissions in Canada would drop by 3.7 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (COeq) per year.

The MOU establishes a framework through which RAC, its members, and Transport Canada will reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and report on criteria air contaminants emitted by locomotives operated by Canadian-owned railways. Class 1 freight and intercity passenger railways have committed to a six per cent reduction, while shortline and regional railways will reduce their emissions by three per cent.

Intensity-based emission reductions will be measured against a 2017 baseline and over a five-year period ending on December 31, 2022. RAC’s commuter railway members will continue to report on their performance under the MOU.

RAC will publish an annual report that summarizes the progress Canadian railways are making towards reducing their emissions and meeting the targets established by the MOU. These reports, which will be made available to the public, are peer reviewed, and the data will be subject to an audit by an independent and accredited firm chosen by Transport Canada.

This MOU supports the Government of Canada’s commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change, and its vision for green and innovative transportation as outlined in Transportation 2030.

About the Railway Association of Canada

The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) represents more than 60 freight and passenger railway companies that move 84 million passenger-trips and $310 billion worth of goods in Canada 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 railcandev.wpengine.com. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Victoria Savoy
Manager, Communications
(613) 564-8111