1. What is the purpose and function of the Fund?
The Fund is the Canadian fund established for the purpose of ensuring the payment of claims for damages that originate from railway accidents involving crude oil. The system is designed to cover the risk of excess liability by the federally-regulated railway(s) involved in an accident, i.e. to ensure that claimants can be indemnified when the aggregated amounts claimed for exceed the limit of liability of the subject railway(s).
2. How much was collected by the Fund through levies during the past fiscal year?
The Fund collected over $22 million during the past fiscal year ($22,780,995).
3. What does “involving designated goods” mean?
For the time being “involving designated goods” means “crude oil”. The Act provides the possibility to include by regulations any other good in this definition, however, the definition has not been extended yet.
4. How many federally-regulated railways are covered by the regime and where can I find the list?
The list of federally-regulated railways can be found on the Canada Transportation Agency websit at https://otc-cta.gc.ca/eng/federal-railway-companies. This list counts some 26 federally-regulated railways (as of June 6, 2019). However, only a few of these railways actually do carry crude oil.
5. Who may file a claim with the Administrator of the Fund?
As provided by legislation, any person in Canada (including private corporations, municipalities, provinces, or the Crown) may file a claim with the Administrator respecting loss, damage, costs and expenses resulting from the railway accident. After the Administrator investigates and pays a claim, he or she has a duty to take reasonable measures to recover from any responsible party the compensation paid to claimants from the Fund.
6. What is the funding mechanism for the Fund and how is the Fund maintained?
The Fund is financed through a levy collected from shippers of crude oil by the first federally-regulated railway carrying this shipment. In addition, interest is credited monthly by the Minister of Finance.
7. How much money was paid out of the Fund to settle claims during the fiscal year?
The Administrator did not have to settle any claims during the year 2018-2019 as there has been no railway accident involving crude oil that could have triggered the involvement of the Fund. Therefore, no money was paid out of the Fund for this purpose.
8. What were the Fund’s annual operating costs?
The Fund’s operating costs were $579,716 during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. These expenses include office and personnel costs shared with another organization, fees paid to the Administrator and the Deputy Administrator, as well as costs linked to outreach efforts and related communication, translation and travel costs, and the cost of hosting a workshop in Ottawa on June 12, 2018.
9. How many staff work for the Fund?
The Fund does not currently have any permanent staff. Its part-time Administrator and Deputy Administrator work with consultants and borrows staff from the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund as needed.
10. What was the Fund balance in the special accounts of Canada on March 31, 2019?
The balance in the Fund was over $44 million on March 31, 2019 ($44,124,706).
11. What is the maximum liability of the Fund for all claims from one railway accident?
There is no maximum liability. The Fund will pay out all established claims. If the Fund does not have enough money accumulated on its account, the Consolidated Revenue Fund will advance money and be repaid over time with interest, through levies.
12. What is the amount of the levy on shipments of crude oil by rail?
The levy is indexed annually to the consumer price index. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019, the levy was $1.72 per tonne. For the fiscal year starting April 1, 2019, the levy is $1.76 per tonne.