Annual State of Safety 2022

State of Safety: Railways

We regulate railways that operate solely within BC and have a Ministers Certificate and Operating Permit issued by the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Provincial railways are subject to the British Columbia Railway Act, Railway Safety Act, and adopted federal railway safety legislation. We regulate five different classes of railways: common carrier, heritage, commuter, industrial, and industrial sidings and spurs.


Railways are responsible for ensuring all hazards are properly managed for safe railway operations. Continuing our education efforts, we provide operational information detailing the consequences of unsafe conditions that can impact the safety of railway employees, the public and the environment.

In 2022, the number of incidents relating to railways increased by 20 (15%) compared to 2021, with 152 reported incidents.

Railways Incidents by Year (2018 - 2022)


In 2022, 18 injuries were reported to us, which double the number of reported injuries in 2021. There were two confirmed fatalities.

Please note that we receive injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following, the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to us and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.

Railways Injuries by Year (2018 - 2022)


Technical Safety BC does not issue railway installation permits.


Assessments and Audits

As part of regular oversight, our railway safety officers assess and audit all operating railways. It is through assessments and audits that railways are sometimes found to be non-compliant with Acts, regulations, rules, and guidelines. Railway operations are also audited against their safety management systems, which are required for all railways.

In 2022, we audited 100% of our certified facilities. Each audit is complemented by an onsite inspection to verify the findings within the assessment. These audits may have been performed remotely in advance or during the on-site inspection.

As an example, we performed a large-scale audit of one of Vancouver’s local commuter lines. We reviewed the railway’s inspection methods of its civil track infrastructure and assessed whether its assets were being inspected according to applicable rules and regulations. The audit was performed by two safety officers over a six-month period. Upon completion, the audit showed that the railway met all its obligations per the audit’s scope and was compliant with rules and regulations.

Assessments are rated as follows:

The safety officer has assessed the railway and found it to be non-compliant with the rules and regulations for provincially-regulated railways in BC, as found in the Railway Safety Act and the Railway Safety Adopted Provisions Regulation.

The safety officer has assessed the railway and identified areas of improvement that could be made with respect to railway industry best practices.

Note: Unlike some other technologies, Railways does not have a Conditional Pass category.

Adoption of Federal Rules

Between March 29 and May 12, 2022, Technical Safety BC, in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation (MOTI), consulted with the railway industry on the impact of adopting the following federal rules into regulation to improve railway safety in BC.

  • Canadian Rail Operating Rules (June 30, 2021)
  • Rules Respecting Track Safety (December 15, 2021)
  • Duty and Rest Period Rules for Railway Operating Employees (November 25, 2020)

As of June 9, 2022 these changes were adopted into Provincial regulation.


Information Bulletin Issued

On June 9, 2022, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued a Ministerial Order to update the Railway Safety Adopted Provisions Regulation and adopt new versions of existing federal rules, as follows:

  • Canadian Rail Operating Rules (June 30, 2021)
  • Rules Respecting Track Safety (December 15, 2021)
  • Duty and Rest Period Rules for Railway Operating Employees (November 25, 2020)

Adoption of the Canadian Rail Operating Rules and the Rules Respecting Track Safety come into force upon adoption and are now in effect in BC. Learn more about the implementation timeline set out by the federal government.

Data by Technology