Crude-by-rail accidents monitoring: Update on the 2019 St. Lazare Derailment
Since the Fund’s creation in 2016, we continue to monitor and follow up on railway accidents involving crude oil. So far, six are being monitored for any potential compensation-related ramifications. One of them is the 2019 St. Lazare, Manitoba derailment. The Transport Safety Board (TSB) of Canada recently completed their investigation on this derailment. The full report can be found here:
TSB’s report on the derailment:
The Investigator-in-charge at TSB concluded that the derailment occurred due to mismatched joint bars along the track. Measures have since been put into place to prevent this same error from happening.
Effects of the accident on the Fund:
The damage caused by the accident is below the insurance amount that the railway company must carry. Therefore, the Fund will not be activated.
However, we continue to monitor until the six-year time limit for claiming against the railway company has expired.
Brief summary of the accident (based on the TSB report):
On February 16, 2019, a Canadian National Railway Company (CN) train derailed near St. Lazare, Manitoba, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie. The train had 108 cars carrying crude oil, out of which 37 cars derailed. 17 of these cars breached and 15 of those cars released product (the other two cars with confirmed breaches lost no measurable amount of product). Approximately 820,000 litres of crude oil leaked. The derailment occurred on property owned by a rancher. Oil spilled on top of a frozen pond used to water cattle in the summer. CN’s environmental team led the cleanup. There was no fire, no injuries, and no evacuation. There was no additional impact to other waterways, including the nearby Assiniboine River.
2020-2021 Annual Report is now available
The 2019-2020 Annual Report is now available at: https://fraidg.gc.ca/en/publications/.
This report highlights the work of the Fund over the course of the last fiscal year.
Should you have any suggestions for next year’s report, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTTAWA, ON – The Administrator of the Fund for Railway Accidents Involving Designated Goods (the Fund) announced today that it is reaching a major milestone: five years of successful preparedness development. In the event of a major crude-by-rail accident, the Fund would protect Canadians from bearing the cost of damages.
The Fund came into effect in 2016 as Canadians demanded stronger liability and compensation following the tragic 2013 Lac-Mégantic derailment. This accident resulted in over 4,300 claims and approximately $1.5 billion in damages. Since then, Canada has strengthened its liability and compensation regime, by having the Fund ready to receive, investigate, assess and pay admissible claims should another crude-by-rail accident occur. Compensation by the Fund starts after railway companies have paid damages up to the amount required by law.
“Despite no railway accidents having triggered the Fund’s intervention yet, we have been implementing an action plan to facilitate access to justice and compensation for victims should it happen, while monitoring railway accidents”, said the Administrator, Anne Legars. “We have assembled a great team, which includes our new director, Dan Di Tota, to prepare for claims management deployment and develop a clear and swift process to support claimants, while remaining fair for the payers.”
Based on the polluter-pays principle, the Fund has so far received close to $87M from crude oil shippers through a levy, a per-tonne fee, collected and remitted by the first federally-regulated railway to carry the crude oil in Canada. Now collecting $1.80 per tonne, between one and two million dollars on average have been accruing to the Fund each month.
To mark the 5th year of preparedness development, the Fund will soon launch its programming, which will include hosting a virtual event in the Fall 2021. Constant efforts are being made to raise awareness and engage with stakeholders.
“We want the Fund to be relevant and effective for all types of claims and claimants, including Indigenous claimants, so we invite Canadians to mark our 5th anniversary by participating in our upcoming events which will be announced soon”, said Anne Legars.
For information on specific activities and programs being offered, stakeholders are encouraged to check the website regularly and follow us on social media.