New bill to focus on ports investment and rail safety

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by Emily Atkins

Federal transport minister Omar Alghabra introduced new legislation in the House of Commons on November 17 that addresses ports and rail issues in Canada.

The Strengthening the Port System and Railway Safety in Canada Act aims to modernize the way Canada’s marine and railway transportation systems operate by removing systemic barriers to create a more fluid, secure, and resilient supply chain.

The legislation will also expand Canada Port Authorities’ mandate over traffic management, and position Canada’s ports as strategic hubs that support national supply chain performance and manage investments for growth.

Last, the bill proposes measures to improve the government’s insight into ports and their operations, and will modernize provisions on rail safety, security, and transportation of dangerous goods.

The government suggests the proposed measures would support the flow of essential goods and would implement tools to mitigate risks and impacts of future supply chain challenges.

Port system

The Act would allow the Government of Canada to deliver on the Ports Modernization Review. This means creating an attractive environment for private investment as well as ensuring the investments support supply chain fluidity.

The government is promising a new policy statement on port investment.

Rail safety

The proposed legislative amendments also respond to the Railway Safety Act Review and aim to improve transparency and efficiency; address gaps and emerging challenges; and further improve the safety and security of the various modes of movement of dangerous goods throughout Canada.

The Act follows the Railway Safety Act Review, the Ports Modernization Review, and Transport Canada’s work related to the transportation of dangerous goods.