Rail certificates of fitness (licences)

If a person wants to construct or operate a freight or passenger railway under federal jurisdiction, they must apply to the Canadian Transportation Agency for a certificate of fitness.

Before issuing a certificate of fitness, we must be satisfied that rail freight carriers have the minimum volume-based liability insurance coverage required. There are also insurance requirements that must be met for passenger rail services and for the construction of a railway.

Insurance requirements for federal rail freight carriers

The Canada Transportation Act prescribes minimum insurance coverage which carriers must maintain at all times. The minimum coverage is determined based on the type and volume of certain prescribed goods (such as crude oil or toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) materials) a carrier transports in a calendar year.

Minimum liability insurance requirements

Volumes per calendar year Amount per occurrence ($ million)
None of the situations described below $25
Less than 4,000 tonnes of TIH materials, less than 100,000 tonnes of crude oil, or at least 40,000 tonnes of other dangerous goods $100
At least 4,000 tonnes but less than 50,000 tonnes of TIH materials, or at least 100,000 tonnes but less than 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil $250
At least 50,000 tonnes of TIH materials or at least 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil $1,000

A carrier's coverage can include self-insurance. But the amount of self-insurance must not exceed the maximum amount of self-insurance that the person who will be responsible for the proposed operation can sustain, based on their financial capability.

Requirements for rail freight carriers

Existing certificate of fitness holders must demonstrate, on an annual basis, that they meet the liability insurance requirements in order to remain eligible to hold their certificate of fitness.

Passenger rail service

These new insurance requirements don't apply to passenger rail service. The insurance requirements that apply to passenger rail services and to the construction of a railway have not changed.

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