Information about programs and information holdings (InfoSource)

2021

Office of the Administrator of the Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods

 

Table of Contents

General Information

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

Manuals

Additional Information

General Information

Information about programs and information holdings (InfoSource) provides information about the functions, programs, activities and related information holdings of government institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It provides individuals and employees of the government (current and former) with relevant information to access personal information about themselves held by government institutions subject to the Privacy Act and to exercise their rights under the Privacy Act.

The Introduction and an index of institutions subject to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act are available centrally.

The Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act assign overall responsibility to the President of Treasury Board (as the designated Minister) for the government-wide administration of the legislation.

Background

Following the Lac-Mégantic tragedy in 2013, the public demanded a strengthened liability and compensation regime for rail in Canada. At the time, there was no adequate mechanism to protect Canadians from bearing the cost of damages in the event of a major railway accident involving crude oil.

Canada strengthened its liability and compensation regime in 2016 by making major changes to the Canada Transportation Act, which now:

  • Holds railways involved in crude oil accidents liable for damages without needing to prove fault or negligence; and
  • Requires minimum insurance levels based on the risk, type and volume of crude oil they transport.  Minimum insurance levels vary between $100 million to $1 billion.

The Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods (the Fund) is a specified purpose account in the accounts of Canada, established under section 153.4 of the Canada Transportation Act. The Fund compensates victims of damages caused by a major crude-by-rail accident. Compensation starts after railway companies have paid damages up to the amount required by law. The Fund is financed through a levy, a per-tonne fee, paid by the first federally regulated railway that transports a crude oil shipment in Canada. Since 2016, the Fund has collected between one and two million dollars per month in levies and from interest generated on that money.

At this time, designated goods include crude oil, but other goods can be added by regulation.

The Fund is managed by an independent Administrator, who reports to Parliament through the Minister of Transport.

Responsibilities

The Fund compensates victims of damages caused by a major crude-by-rail accident. Compensation starts after railway companies have paid damages up to the amount required by law.

The Fund has no limit to how much it can compensate. Should the amount available with the Fund be insufficient to pay all eligible claims, the Fund has access to additional money through the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which would be reimbursed over time, with interest, through levies.

The Administrator, appointed by the Governor in Council:

  • As an independent authority, must investigate and assess all claims filed against the Fund, subject to appeal to the Federal Court of Canada;
  • Has the powers of a Commissioner under Part 1 of the Inquiries Act;
  • Offers compensation to claimants for whatever portion of the claim the Administrator finds to be established and, where a claimant accepts an offer, the Administrator directs payment to the claimant from the Fund;
  • Becomes a party by statute to any proceedings commenced by a claimant against the railway companies;
  • Ensures records are properly maintained;
  • Prepares an annual report on the operations of the Fund, which is laid before Parliament by the Minister of Transport.

Institutional Functions, Programs and Activities

DOMESTIC COMPENSATION REGIME

The Fund is Canada’s domestic fund for providing compensation for major crude-by-rail accidents after railway companies have paid damages up to the amount required by law. Any person in Canada may submit a claim for loss, damage, costs and expenses resulting from major crude-by-rail accidents. Types of damages include preventive measures and clean-up costs, environmental damage, personal injury, property damage, economic loss, loss of fishing, hunting and gathering opportunities for Indigenous peoples, and loss of subsistence living. The Crowns (federal and provincial) may also claim for pure environmental loss (non-use value).

The Administrator investigates the claim, and offers compensation to the extent that it is established. If the claimant accepts the offer, the Administrator directs the amount to be paid out of the Fund. The Administrator must then take all reasonable measures to recover, from the railway or any other person who may be liable, the amount paid out. Although no accident has yet triggered the Fund’s jurisdiction, the Administrator has put efforts in developing processes that would come into play in the event of a major crude-by-rail accident triggering the Fund.

Accident Cases

Description: Records related to claims filed against the Fund to obtain compensation for damages caused by a major crude-by-rail accident. Includes records related to the administration, offers of compensation, acceptance, payment and recovery action of claims. Records may include accident reports, response organization reports, legal proceedings, pleadings and recourse action proceedings.

Document Types: Accident reports, claims, reports, surveys, investigations and assessments, letters, letters of undertaking, pleadings, photographs and images, maps, notes, requisitions, policies and procedures, legal opinions, court documents, and correspondence.

Record Number: FRAIDG INC 001

Fund Indexation, Limitation of Liability and Levy

Description: Records related to the Fund indexation, limit of liability, and levy exercise on each metric tonne of contributing oil imported into or exported from Canada in bulk as cargo on a railway.  Records may include the annual correspondence between the Fund and Transport Canada as well as any related reports.

Document Types: Correspondence, payment records and reports.

Record Number: FRAIDG OPS 005

OUTREACH ACTIVITIES

Initiatives aimed at assuring early engagement of other key payers and key players of the regime, and at raising awareness of the existence of the Fund and compensation available to victims of damages caused by a major crude-by-rail accidents. This includes railway companies and associations, federal, provincial and territorial governments, local governments, insurers, the legal community, response organizations and first responders, the Canadian Red Cross, Indigenous groups and communities, the oil and gas industry, the agricultural industry, landowner associations, utility providers, academics, private citizens, and the media.

Affiliations, Federal, National and International Relations

Description: Records related to the fostering of relationships and increasing cooperation with outside organizations, such as other government departments and agencies, foreign countries and international organizations, provincial, territorial, and local governments, railway companies, response organizations, emergency responders, Indigenous groups and communities, and insurance companies, as well as organizations, associations, clubs, societies, and foundations.

Document Types: Correspondence, notes, reports, meeting agendas and minutes, records of decisions, presentations, Memoranda of Understanding, and legal opinions.

Record Number: FRAIDG OUT 001

Committees, Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

Description: Records related to committees, conferences, seminars and workshops related to designated goods pollution, prevention, response, liability or compensation regime issues in which the Fund may or may not actively participate.

Document Types: Correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, notes, lists of participants, presentations, records of decisions and reports.

Record Number: FRAIDG OUT 002

INTERNAL SERVICES

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: AcquisitionsCommunications ServicesFinancial ManagementHuman Resources ManagementInformation ManagementInformation TechnologyLegal ServicesManagement and Oversight ServicesMaterialReal PropertyTravel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Acquisition Services

Acquisition Services involve activities undertaken to acquire a good or service to fulfill a properly completed request (including a complete and accurate definition of requirements and certification that funds are available) until entering into or amending a contract.

Communications Services

Communications Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that Government of Canada communications are effectively managed, well coordinated and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. The communications management function ensures that the public—internal or external—receives government information, and that the views and concerns of the public are taken into account in the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs, services and initiatives.

Financial Management Services

Financial Management Services involve activities undertaken to ensure the prudent use of public resources, including planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, control and oversight, analysis, decision support and advice, and financial systems.

Human Resources Management Services

Human Resources Management Services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction, allocating resources among services and processes, as well as activities relating to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and/or plans.

Information Management Services

Information Management Services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making; facilitate accountability, transparency and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.

Information Technology Services

Information Technology Services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective use of information technology to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance services to the public.

Legal services

Legal Services involve activities undertaken to enable government departments and agencies to pursue policy, program and service delivery priorities and objectives within a legally sound framework.

Management and Oversight Services

Management and Oversight Services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction and allocating resources among services and processes, as well as those activities related to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and/or plans.

Materiel Services

Materiel Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that materiel can be managed by departments in a sustainable and financially responsible manner that supports the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Real Property Services

Real Property Services involve activities undertaken to ensure that real property is managed in a sustainable and financially responsible manner, throughout its life cycle, to support the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.

Travel and Other Administrative Services

Travel and Other Administrative Services include Government of Canada travel services, as well as those other internal services that do not smoothly fit with any of the internal services categories.

Manuals

Additional Information

Please see How access to information and personal information requests work under the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. You can submit your Access to Information or Privacy request online or by mail. To make a formal request, please refer to Make an access to information or personal information request. Requests by mail can be submitted to:

Access to Information and Privacy
Office of the Administrator of the Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods
180 Kent Street - Suite 830
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0N5

The Government of Canada encourages the release of information through informal requests. To make an informal request, contact us at the address above or e-mail us at info@fraidg-ciafimd.gc.ca. You may also wish to consult the Office of the Administrator of the Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods’ completed Access to Information (ATI) summaries.

To obtain information on open data, visit the Open Government portal.

Reading Room

In accordance with the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act, an area on the premises will be made available should the applicant wish to review materials on site. The address is:

180 Kent Street - Suite 830
Ottawa, Ontario