What to Know to Comply with Rail Crossing Safety Regulations

Transport Canada updated the Grade Crossing Regulations in 2019 to improve safety where roads cross federally regulated railroads. The new standards require a variety of upgrades depending on the type of road that crosses the railway and the speed and frequency of trains using the railroad. Some municipalities are unaware that they bear the responsibility for completing upgrades to their roads that cross federally regulated railroads.

Road upgrades can be separated into high-priority and low-priority upgrades. Generally speaking, high-priority upgrades would involve higher speed and capacity roads that cross busier railroads, while low-priority upgrades would be for lower capacity, slower speed roads that cross less busy railroads. High-priority upgrades must be completed by November 28, 2022, and low-priority upgrades must be completed by November 28, 2024.

Transport Canada has developed some tools for municipalities to determine the status of their federally regulated crossings. The Grade Crossing Map shows all federally regulated crossings in Canada, including the relevant road authority and railway company. The updated standards are also available to determine the level of upgrades required. Municipalities should contact the relevant rail company and Transport Canada to determine what road upgrades may need to be completed to remain compliant with the Grade Crossing Regulations. Funding for some upgrades can be accessed under the Rail Safety Improvement Program. Program applications close August 1, 2022.