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Letter to Editor Re: “Backup brake could have averted disaster” Published in the Globe and Mail, March 8, 2016

March 7, 2016

The Editors
Globe and Mail
444 Front St. W.
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Sir/Madam,

In addition to highlighting the specific failure of Transport Canada to require the proper setting of the brakes on the train involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster, Grant Robert's article ("backup brake could have averted disaster") points again to the more fundamental issue of the department's approach to its role as a safety regulator. That approach, of largely leaving the railways to write their own rules and regulate themselves, has not changed in the wake of the disaster. Until Transport Canada adopts a more effective regulatory model, in which it, and not the railways, is the leader in the establishment and enforcement of equipment and operating standards, the health and safety of Canadians will continue to be at risk.

Yours sincerely,

Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

My working paper on Rail Safety Regulation in Canada is available here.