Bill S-4

Safer Railways Act

An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act

This bill was tabled by on Oct. 7, 2011.

more...

How does a bill become a law?

Don’t trust Schoolhouse Rock – that’s for Americans. To become a law, a bill in the Canada’s Parliament needs to go through the following steps, and pass when voted on during each step:

  • It all starts with the first reading, when the bill is introduced.
  • Next comes the second reading, when other MPs or Senators get to debate the bill.
  • After that, the bill goes to a committee that studies and amends it line-by-line. Once they finish, the bill goes returns to the House or Senate for the report stage, where anyone can propose amendments.
  • The third reading is the moment of truth: no more changes, just a debate and a final vote on whether or not the bill should pass.
  • If a bill makes it through all of those steps – in both the House of Commons and Senate – it’s ready to get Royal Assent and become a law.

Status of this Bill

Royal Assent

Activity Feed

  • Photo of Olivia Chow
    Olivia Chow spoke about Government Orders > Safer Railways Act

    Mr. Speaker, having a safe and reliable rail network is essential to Canada's mobility and economy. Seventy percent of all service goods are shipped by train. Passenger and commuter trains transport more than 70 million people a year. Our railways also have an environmental edge over road bound traffic as they only contributes 3% of Canada's transportation related greenhouse gas emissions. ... more

    May 1, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Pierre Poilievre
    Pierre Poilievre spoke about Government Orders > Safer Railways Act

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is upset that the bill is called Bill S-4 and not Bill C-4. He is upset that the bill originated in the Senate and not in the House. The reality is that this is a bill that has consensus across both chambers and all parties. At times, government introduces bills at the Senate level because that chamber might be undercapacity while this one is overcapacity and, in order to get that legislation passed quickly, we start it there and we end it here. Either way, it must go to both places. I conclude by saying that Bill S-4 or Bill C-4, what the heck is he fighting for?”

    May 1, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Pat Martin
    Pat Martin spoke about Government Orders > Safer Railways Act

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for what might be a case study or even a lesson for some of us on how to be a parliamentary secretary. He spent a full five minutes in the opening remarks of his speech complimenting his minister. He would more or less have people believe we should be erecting a statue to the Minister of Transport, never mind supporting this particular bill. It would be under the category of infrastructure, surely. ... more

    May 1, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Pierre Poilievre
    Pierre Poilievre spoke about Government Orders > Safer Railways Act

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House on the third reading of Bill S-4, the safer railways act. ... more

    May 1, 2012,   Parliament
  • spoke about Government Orders > Safer Railways Act

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

    May 1, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Pierre Poilievre
    Pierre Poilievre spoke about Statements by Members > Rail Safety Week

    Mr. Speaker, one of the few legitimate roles of government is the protection of the individual and the preservation of safety and security. That is why it is important for us to celebrate Rail Safety Week. ... more

    April 30, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Peter Van Loan
    Peter Van Loan spoke about Oral Questions > Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by welcoming the new House leader for the official opposition. I look forward to working with him. I anticipate a positive and constructive approach. ... more

    April 26, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Merv Tweed
    Merv Tweed spoke about Routine Proceedings > Committees of the House > Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities regarding Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Transportation Act. ... more

    April 25, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Merv Tweed
    Merv Tweed spoke

    With that, we have the completion of Bill S-4. Congratulations. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Coderre

    Mr. Chair, I would like to make a suggestion. Since we have already worked on this bill and since I do not think—I imagine that it will be the same for the NDP—that we will have any amendments, I don't see why we would hold another meeting to do the clause-by-clause study of this bill. I suggest that we support this bill immediately and that it be sent back to the House immediately; that way, we can move on to other bills. If it is the wish of my colleagues, I think that we should immediately support Bill S-4 and send it back to the House in order to move on immediately to our other business.

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Coderre

    Mr. Chair, I would like to continue on the issue of ministerial authority. It means that the minister can, as he wishes, address a situation thanks to his discretion under Bill S-4. The bill gives additional powers to the minister.

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Luc Bourdon spoke

    Bill S-4 does not make research and development mandatory. However some legislation like the Railway Safety Act, some sections of which are included in Bill S-4, do encourage the introduction and use of new technologies under existing rules. For example, under existing rules, we can test new technologies in just about 35 days. If all goes well, in less than four months approximately, we can allow a blanket exemption for a rule or regulation in order to encourage the introduction of new technologies. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Robert Aubin
    Robert Aubin spoke

    Does Bill S-4 compel the transportation department to research new technologies? Is there any way to put this money aside to shelter it from future budget cuts?

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Luc Bourdon spoke

    I believe that rail transportation is just as safe as air transportation. Our data show a constant improvement in safety. Under Bill S-4, safety will be enhanced even further. For example, railway undertakings have to apply for a safety certificate. The fact that all railway companies must show that they have implemented all measures to guarantee safety before they can even start up operations is a good thing. The same goes for existing railroads. And we will add monetary sanctions which will motivate companies to comply with regulations. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Robert Aubin
    Robert Aubin spoke

    Thank you, Mr. Chair. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Mike Sullivan

    Let's move over to the requirement for a railway operating certificate, which is part of Bill S-4. Can you tell me the requirements to obtain one? Will public transit agencies, such as GO Transit, Metrolinx, the new Air Rail Link, TransLink, and other urban transit agencies, need to acquire one of these? And what will they have to do to get one?

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel spoke

    No, that's not what I said. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel spoke

    We are here to talk about the passing of S-4 , sir.

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel spoke

    It's not about safety but about the transport of dangerous goods, as you said. Bill S-4 will cover a lot of things. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Luc Bourdon spoke

    There are actually two things in tab 37 of your binder. One deals with the reporting of unsafe acts directly to Transport Canada without fear of reprisal. So that's going to be in place. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel spoke

    It's very important to continue that way. As we said, the tools we will have with Bill S-4 will permit the unions, the workers, to be part of our solution. We have already done a good job, because since 2007 we haven't cut investments in rail safety; we've invested more. Since 2007, train accidents have decreased by 23% and train derailments by 26%. But we want to continue. We want to have better scores.

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel spoke

    Once Bill S-4 is passed, we will have implemented 83% of the recommendations. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Jeff Watson
    Jeff Watson spoke

    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to our minister and the Transport Canada officials for being here today. ... more

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Mr. Luc Bourdon spoke

    I just wanted to add that Bill S-4 increases accountability for railways. In fact, with this bill, provincial jurisdiction railway cars that use federal railways will be covered by the act, which is not the case actually.

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Photo of Denis Lebel
    Denis Lebel spoke

    There are a lot of rumours. We will see what happens, sir. For now, there is nothing in the works in the short term. Of course, we hear ideas. We have information and we also have advice that allows us to see where the industry can go. However, this does not change a thing with regard to the safety aspect of Bill S-4. It seeks to strengthen our system's safety.

    April 24, 2012,   Parliament
  • Load more