Madam Chair and honourable members, thank you for inviting the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to appear before you today so that we can answer your questions relating to the removal of the transportation of flammable liquids by rail from the most recent update to our watchlist.
First issued in 2010, the TSB's watchlist identifies the key safety issues that need to be addressed to make Canada's transportation system even safer. Each of the seven issues on the current edition is supported by a combination of investigation reports, board safety concerns and board recommendations.
Over the years, the watchlist has served as both a call to action and a blueprint for change—a regular reminder to industry, to regulators, and to the public that the problems we highlight are complex, requiring coordinated action from multiple stakeholders in order to reduce the safety risks involved.
And that is exactly what has happened. As Canada's transportation network has evolved, so too has the watchlist: every two years, we put issues on it, call for change, and, when enough action has been taken that the risks have been sufficiently reduced, the issues are removed.
As for the transportation of flammable liquids by rail, it was first added to the watchlist in 2014 in the wake of the terrible tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and it was supported by a number of board recommendations. In 2016, we kept the issue on the watchlist. We were also explicit about the type of action we wanted to see—specifically, two things.
First, we called on railway companies to conduct thorough route planning and analysis and to perform risk assessments to ensure that risk control measures are effective. Second, we wanted more robust tank cars used when large quantities of flammable liquids are being transported by rail, in order to reduce the likelihood or consequences of a dangerous goods release following derailments.
Since then, Transport Canada and the industry have taken a number of positive steps. Notably, railway companies are conducting more route planning and risk assessments and have increased targeted track inspections when transporting large quantities of flammable liquids.
New standards were established for the construction of rail tank cars, and the replacement of the DOT-111 legacy cars—as in what occurred in Lac-Mégantic—was initiated. Then, in August 2018, the Minister of Transport ordered an accelerated timeline for removing the least crash-resistant rail tank cars. Specifically, as of November 2018, in addition to the earlier removal of the legacy DOT-111 cars, unjacketed CPC-1232s would no longer be used to carry crude oil and, as of January 1 of this year, they would not be transporting condensate either.
Given that kind of action, we removed the issue from the watchlist. However, that does not mean that all the risks have been eliminated or that the TSB has stopped watching.
On the contrary, we are still closely monitoring the transportation of flammable liquids by rail through our review of occurrence statistics, via our ongoing investigations and via the annual reassessment of our outstanding recommendations. To assist the committee, we are pleased to table today an extract from our most recent rail occurrence statistics showing accidents and incidents involving dangerous goods, including crude oil, from 2013 to 2018.
We are now prepared to answer your questions.
Thank you, Madam Chair.