About the Railway Safety Act

The Canadian rail system includes both federal and provincial railways. Railways that cross provincial boundaries are governed by federal legislation, while railways that operate strictly within the boundaries of the province are governed by provincial legislation.

The British Columbia Railway Safety Act is harmonized with the technical regulations, rules and standards of the federal legislation.

All provincial railway companies must obtain an operating permit prior to start-up of operations.

B.C.'s Railway Safety Act established a Registrar of Railway Safety. The Registrar may:

  • issue operating permits to eligible railway companies
  • exempt permit holders from certain provisions if appropriate
  • apply terms and conditions to an operating permit
  • cancel or suspend an operating permit under certain circumstances

B.C.'s Railway Safety Act requires railway companies to implement and maintain a safety management system that sets out the company's:

  • rules
  • procedures
  • responsibilities
  • authorities
  • monitoring and evaluation processes

B.C.'s Railway Safety Act allows the Province to delegate railway inspection and accident investigation services to independent agencies, allowing B.C. to access specialized expertise.