Harsh lessons from Lac-Mégantic

A new study, by CCPA Executive Director Bruce Campbell, examines the root causes of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, Canada's deadliest rail disaster in almost 150 years. According to the study, the evidence to date points to a flawed regulatory system, cost-cutting corporate behavior that jeopardized public safety and the environment, and responsibility extending to the highest levels of corporate management and government policy-making. 

The last five years have seen a wild-west boom in the transportation of oil by rail. Close to 275,000 barrels of crude oil per day are now shipped by rail in Canada—up from almost none five years ago. And yet, Transport Canada’s Dangerous Goods division budget has remained extremely small—$13 million to cover all modes of transportation. The division currently has only 35 inspectors, the equivalent of just one inspector for every 4,000 tank carloads of crude oil transported. In 2009, when the oil-by-rail boom started, there was one inspector for every 14 tank carloads.

The study also suggests several other flaws in the regulatory system, and highlights some nagging questions in the wake of the tragedy.

Find out more in the full report, The Lac-Mégantic Disaster: Where Does the Buck Stop? and read Bruce Campbell's op-ed, here.

Un résumé de ce rapport est disponible en français: Tragédie à Lac-Mégantic: Quand cesseront-ils de se renvoyer la balle?