Propane Pulse - May 2023: Important updates from Transport Canada semi-annual policy meeting

Transport Canada provided an update on all the projects they are working on at their semi-annual General Policy Advisory Council held on May xx. The following is a list of projects relevant to CPA members:

,1. TC is repealing regulations within the Rail Safety Act

TC is repealing the decades-old Rail Safety Act Flammable Liquids Bulk Storage Regulations with a target completion of spring 2025.

The updates come after recent rail events, including the train derailment near East Palestine, Ohio in which 38 rail cars derailed, including 11 containing hazardous materials. They have indicated that liquid fuels and propane are not included in the repeal. However, propane may be included in the High Hazard Flammable Trains guidelines, meaning that additional buffer cars may be required which will effect the propane industry.

 2. Regulatory projects planned for publication

TC is working on the following regulatory projects planned for publication in Canada Gazette, Part II:

i. Miscellaneous Amendment Regulations: Administrative changes are being made to the TDGR but do not affect current requirements. Published fall 2023.

ii. Part 6 Training: Updates to training regulations have been extended until fall while TC further studies associated costs. Published fall 2023.

iii. Part 17, Registration Database: The release of the new registration database has been delayed until fall 2023 because of the ongoing government strike.

iv. International Harmonization Update and Part 12 Air: Modifications were made but they have little impact on propane. Changes include thresholds allowed on aircraft and eliminating the need for the propane equivalency SU 11028 for shrunken labels by including them in the regulation. The publication is set for spring 2024.

v. Fee Modernization – MOC Facilities Registration Program: Reopened for comment as TC revised their fee proposal. [The CPA submitted comments on the proposed increases.] The publication is set for mid-2024.

 3. Part 6 Training Updates

Key expected updates to Part 6 Training include (*changes are in orange):

  • Removal of the term ‘adequately trained’.
  • Incorporates the new CGSB training standard as published.
  • Requires training and assessment, including both general awareness training and function-specific training, commensurate with the individual’s responsibilities to be considered competent.
  • Documents training and assessment through a certificate proof of competency replacing the current “certificate of training”. This proof can be either the person’s record of training or a document that summarizes its details.
  • Provides a 12-month transitional period and a soft implementation approach to support stakeholders.

4. Annual Canada-wide outreach to Emergency Response Assistance Plan holders

TC conducts an annual outreach to Emergency Response Assistance Plan holders across Canada to identify deficiencies and potential changes to the regulations. This year’s outreach includes one in ATL and QC, five in ON, six in AB, and two in the Territories.

Outreach has already started for 2023. So far, the following issues were identified:

  • ERAP holder did not implement their ERAP and tried to use another response contractor not listed in their plan to respond.
  • Conflict between preferred emergency response team of a rail carrier and that of an ERAP holder.

TC stated that a shorter time frame will be given to correct deficiencies and that ERAP holders must ensure their contractor has the capability and resources to mitigate incidents before signing a contract agreement. In addition, TC stated that all Remedial Measure Specialists are scheduled, as part of their mandatory response training, to complete an Advanced Highway Emergency Response Specialist course in August of this year.

Canutec Statistics of number of incidents that have occurred Jan 2022 – Dec 2022

Future workforce planning

TC is working with Canadian Emergency Response Contractors’ Alliance members and participates in their exercises, tabletops, and other training activities. To promote emergency response as a sustainable career, TC says it will continue to work with the alliance to help develop new training courses/programs to boost the knowledge of current employees as well as draw in new ones and create more distinct and discernable career pathways for those coming out of high school and going into emergency response.

5. Feedback sought on proposed amendments to TDG Act

TC is seeking feedback on its proposed amendments to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 that are included in Bill C-33, Strengthening the Ports System and Railway Safety in Canada Act.

The proposed amendments are intended to support the safe multimodal movement of dangerous goods throughout Canada and address the shortcomings identified in the audits of the TDG Program.

The following are some of the key proposed amendments and industry commentary :

i. TC is proposing 15 days to request a compliance agreement (an agreement with TC that allows a company or other consumer facility that has been penalized to use the monetary penalty towards measures to fix the issue) and 15 days to implement it.
Feedback: Additional time must be granted because investigations may not always be completed in a 30-day period.

ii. TC may publish infractions with names for a five-year window, but potentially longer if they are used as examples.
Feedback: Names should be removed after the five-year period so that penalization of the incident does not extend beyond this period. TC should also publish examples of past personal liability incidents to ensure individuals understand the severity of an action and associated penalty.

iii. A numerical score is assigned to set variables of a violation, with the cumulative score corresponding to a penalty range.
Feedback: The penalty calculation appears to be very open to interpretation, with the severity falling on an authority’s assessment/interpretation of the infraction.

iv. A significant increase in possible penalties for companies is being proposed along with the addition of a new penalty category for individuals.

Penalty Approach

The penalty calculation would be as follows