This is my first message as RAC President and CEO and I am looking forward to using this space to share my thoughts about the most recent trends in Canada’s railway industry and the opportunities in front of us.
When I started in this position in early July, I was thrilled to join an association that’s known as an authority on issues related to Canada’s railway industry, and as a trusted advocate for its members. I will aim to maintain this reputation and evolve the association so that it can continue to be a best-in-class industry group.
My experience has taught me that the success of an association is graded, first and foremost, on the value that it provides to its members. It’s important to me that RAC is engaging regularly with its members so that it can fulfill its responsibility as the voice of the rail industry in Canada. Effective engagement supports communication between RAC members and stakeholders – governments, the media and all other interested parties. If members are interested in what we’re up to, involved in our initiatives and committed to the industry’s goals, we can reach our full potential. After roughly a month on the job, I am extremely optimistic about the direction of the association.
During my onboarding process, I have met with members and key stakeholders across Canada to better understand the opportunities and challenges facing our industry. One thing is certain: I’ve joined RAC during an eventful period for railways in Canada.
In May, Transport Minister Marc Garneau tabled the collaborative and comprehensive Railway Safety Act review report. In the coming months, I look forward to engaging with the minister and his staff, the House and Senate Transport Committees, and other senior officials to ensure that the Act – a pillar of Canada’s rail safety regime – benefits Canadians. Throughout my two-plus decades of experience in the transportation industry, I’ve learned that safety is the top priority and a shared responsibility. I’d like Canadians to understand the rail industry’s commitment to working with regulators and communities to continuously improve safety. Safety is a critical part of our sector’s growth, to the benefit of all.
In addition, railways are investing in their infrastructure like never before. In 2018 alone, Canada’s railways have earmarked close to $5 billion in capital improvements to enhance the safety and efficiency of their North American networks. As part of this, CN and CP recently announced major investments in high-capacity hopper cars and modern, fuel-efficient locomotives. These investments will help to meet the long-term needs of farmers, shippers and the Canadian economy for years to come. Our association’s work will aim to ensure that Canada’s rail regulatory environment encourages RAC members to innovate, invest in infrastructure and, as a result, exceed customers’ needs and expectations.
Safety and efficiency are critically important to the sustainability of the rail sector. Many people associate sustainability with carbon reduction. While limiting our carbon footprint is a priority for our members, rail industry sustainability is more than just environmental stewardship. In addition to a commitment to continuously improving our environmental performance, our sector’s sustainability strategy is based on social and economic pillars that are at the core of our members’ business.
I look forward to informing members and stakeholders about the initiatives that are enabling Canada’s railways to deliver safe and sustainable rail service as I help lead RAC into the future.
President & CEO