Transport Canada said in a statement that by providing accident investigators with insight into crew communications and actions, locomotive voice and video recorders can help improve rail safety by reducing the risk of future accidents. Information from these locomotive voice and video recorders can also be used by rail companies to identify and manage safety risks.
Transport Canada consulted rail companies, unions, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Canada’s Labour Program, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure the proposed Locomotive Voice and Video Recorder Regulations “reflect a careful balance between measures to increase safety benefits, while safeguarding the privacy rights of railway employees,” the statement said.
A 60-day public consultation period follows the pre-publication of the Locomotive Voice and Video Recorder Regulations. The feedback that is collected will be considered in the development of the final regulations.
The Transportation Modernization Act, which received Royal Assent in May 2018, amended the Railway Safety Act to mandate the installation of locomotive voice and video recorders.
Transport Canada has pledged to fulfill all its obligations under the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act when using data collected from locomotive voice and video recorders.
Under the new regulations rail companies are required to respect the privacy rights of their employees under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
“Understanding how a railway crew communicated and acted immediately before a railway accident is crucial for investigators,” said minster of transport Marc Garneau.
“Locomotive voice and video recorders will provide the necessary information to help better protect Canadians, their families, the communities along Canada’s rail corridors, and railway employees.”