Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Transportation Safety Board Says Feds Not Doing Enough to Enforce Safe Transport

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Transportation Safety Board Says Feds Not Doing Enough to Enforce Safe Transport

Article excerpt

Safety board takes aim at transport oversight

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OTTAWA - The Transportation Safety Board says the federal government isn't doing enough to enforce proper safety practices by Canada's railways, airlines and marine operators.

The board, which investigates transport accidents and makes recommendations for improvement, released its 2014 watch list of significant safety issues Wednesday.

The annual list cites problems that the investigative board believes are of ongoing concern.

This year it takes direct aim at Transport Canada's oversight of self-regulatory safety systems, notwithstanding a series of Conservative government announcements designed to bolster public confidence.

Citing the deadly derailment and fire in Lac-Megantic, Que., that claimed 47 lives last year, the Transportation Safety Board says the federal regulator has failed to identify safety problems under its watch and has put too much emphasis on company audits rather than on-the-ground inspections.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has strongly defended so-called safety management systems, or SMS -- a self-regulatory approach to government oversight in which federal auditors monitor companies' own safety reports rather than inspecting their operations directly.

Last month Raitt announced her department would hire 10 new auditors, doubling the number employed by Transport Canada across the country.

"An SMS on its own is not enough," Kathy Fox, the chair of the board, said in the TSB release.

"That's why we are calling on (Transport Canada) to regularly oversee all safety management systems and processes to ensure they are effective."

Fox added that "when transportation companies are unable to effectively manage safety, TC must intervene in a way that succeeds in changing unsafe operating practices."

The release states there is "an imbalance between auditing processes versus traditional inspections."

The board also warns that while all federally regulated railways are required to have a safety management system, that is not the case for all marine and air operators. …

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