April 14, 2010 – OTTAWA – Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird, Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), and Denis Lebel, Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced that the Government of Canada will upgrade high-priority rail grade crossings across the country — a move that will help to keep Canadian communities safe.
“The Government of Canada is improving safety at crossings where roads and train tracks meet,” said Baird. “As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, we are taking action now to upgrade rail grade crossing improvements in communities across Canada.”
“Statistics show a decline in fatalities and injuries at rail crossings and that means we are making progress,” said Minister Merrifield. “This funding will enable us to continue life-saving upgrades for the safety of Canadian communities.”
Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the government is providing close to $11 million under the Grade Crossing Improvement Program to upgrade 155 high-priority rail grade crossings in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
The Government of Canada works with the railway industry, provinces and municipalities to perform safety assessments at rail crossings and works actively to reduce the number of crossing-related injuries and fatalities. For example, the government supports the program Operation Lifesaver, a national education program that promotes awareness of the dangers around railway property to the general public.
Rail Safety Week, a weeklong Operation Lifesaver outreach campaign, will take place this year from April 26 to May 2 in more than 200 municipalities across Canada. Activities will include mock accidents, interactive kiosks, school presentations, safety blitzes and trespass enforcement initiatives.
“Coupled with the ongoing Operation Lifesaver work and the upcoming Rail Safety Week, we’re doing everything we can to keep Canadians safer at rail crossings,” said Minister Lebel.
For more information on Operation Lifesaver and Rail Safety Week, please visit www.operationlifesaver.ca.