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Delivering for Canadians – in 2021 and well beyond

The word unprecedented is overused by a lot of people. For Canadian railroaders, however, it is a fitting term to describe the events of 2021.

Freight rail companies rang in this year adjusting to global supply change pressures aggravated by the COVID pandemic. Passenger and commuter rail operators were either halted in their tracks or experienced record low ridership.

RAC members persevered, demonstrating the flexibility and perseverance we have come to recognize them for.

As a devastating summer forest fire season gave way to deadly and destructive flooding in British Columbia this fall, RAC members responded with resilience and ingenuity.

And, when record amounts of grain and other cargo needed to get to world markets, RAC members answered the call.

Faced with challenges, RAC members responded with unwavering professionalism and readiness.

Time and again, when Canada and Canadians were counting on them, RAC members delivered.

Despite everything 2021 threw at them, they delivered safely and reliably and sustainably.

The challenges were truly unprecedented. But railroaders were undaunted, and they got the job done.

With a minority government in Ottawa, with a pandemic that isn’t done with us yet, and with inflationary pressures we haven’t seen in decades, 2022 will have its own set of challenges.

Our economy and our society are changing quickly. But railroaders are evolving to meet those challenges.

•    We are contributing to Canada’s climate change commitments, reconciliation efforts, and economic recovery.

•    Our class 1 railways are expanding our trade with the world.

•    A new VIA fleet is preparing to carry a next generation of passengers. Funding for these new trainsets was announced in the 2018 Federal budget and represents an investment of close to a billion dollars.

•    And our freight, tourist, and commuter rail members continue to help Canada’s economy grow. In fact, important investments in public transit and commuter rail are being made across the country.

In 2020-21, Metrolinx invested over $3.9 billion to deliver on several projects, including GO expansion and LRTs in the Greater Toronto Area; exo plans on investing $178.9 million into its commuter rail network in the Montreal area; the City of Ottawa budgeted for $123.5 million in transit investment in 2021, including investments in rail; and TransLink’s 2022 New Capital Program includes $933.8 million of investments, including rail projects, in the Greater Vancouver Area.

Canadian railroaders will deliver, as they have for nearly two centuries. For that and so much more, we can all be very thankful.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday.

Marc Brazeau
President & CEO