Canadian National locomotives are seen in Montreal on Monday, February 23, 2015. The federal Liberals have laid out their proposal for rules around voice and data recorders on locomotives, specifying when companies can use the devices to address safety concerns and how workers’ privacy will be protected. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

The federal Liberals have laid out their proposal for rules around voice and data recorders on locomotives, specifying when companies can use the devices to address safety concerns and how workers’ privacy will be protected.

Legislation passed by Parliament required the government to come up with regulations for the recorders, which are similar to “black boxes” on airplanes.

Transport Canada wants to limit companies’ uses of the recorders’ data to instances where there is reason to believe that crew activities led to a collision or derailment or similar incident and only to a small window of time.

The rules are subject to a 60-day consultation period, after which the federal cabinet would have to enact the regulations, which likely won’t occur until after this fall’s election.

The 18 rail companies subject of the new rules would then have two years to have recorders installed — a process that is estimated to cost $76 million, according to a federal analysis.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the devices will make Canada’s rail system safer.

“Having these devices at the very least will help us understand when there is an accident … what was the cause of that accident and that in itself will help us to lower the possiblity that that same cause will be responsible for subsequent accidents,” he said.

READ MORE: B.C. home to third most train derailments across Canada

When legislators debated the proposal two years ago, Unifor, Teamsters Canada and the federal privacy commissioner all raised concerns that the recording devices could be used for discipline that has nothing to do with a rail incident.

There were also concerns about what happens to the data on the recorders when trains cross the border with the United States.

The proposed regulations say that rail companies will have to respect requirements under the federal private-sector privacy law, including rules on how the information must be handled and who can access it and strict limits on its use to situations like federal investigations.

“It is a decision we have taken because of safety motivations, but we’re very conscious of the fact that we must be sensitive to privacy rights,” Garneau said.

“We very, very carefully, I believe, have crafted these regulations to ensure that privacy is addressed while at the same time having access to the information in a number of situations.”

And the regulations also detail what could be considered a threat to railway safety, such as using cellphones or personal entertainment devices execpt as provided by company policies, and consuming alcohol or drugs.

“We wanted to deliberately define those so there wouldn’t be any arbitrary determination of other kinds of things going on that would be considered a threat,” Garneau said.

READ MORE: B.C. train that derailed and killed three ‘just started moving on its own’

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kootnekoff: It’s my strata, and I’ll smoke if I want to (Part 2)

The final part of a legal battle between two strata residents and second-hand smoke

Iconic rock photographer Bob Gruen to exhibit work in Kelowna

Gruen’s portfolio includes John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, among many others.

Kelowna woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for homeless youth

Victoria Schermel’s climb will raise funds for youth homelessness initiative, The Upstream Project.

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pleaded guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Okanagan resident’s alleged stolen dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

Most Read