OTTAWA, Ontario -- New stricter safety measures for shipping oil by rail across Canada are expected soon, in response to the worst such disaster in the country's history, it was reported today.
Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt told the daily Globe and Mail the change is an "acknowledgement, intuitively, that (crude) is a dangerous good, and should be treated as such."
Raitt tasked officials with implementing the new rules by mid-2014, the newspaper said.
Ashley Kelahear, a spokeswoman for Raitt, said the minister met with officials last month "to discuss issues surrounding the transport of dangerous goods."
Kelahear said Raitt asked for recommendations for updating classifications of potentially dangerous goods and tanker car standards.
This was in response to mounting concerns about the safety of crude increasingly being shipped by rail, amid warnings that the most commonly used tankers in North America should not carry flammable liquids.
A working group that includes Transport Canada, railways, firefighters and the oil industry is also reviewing emergency response plans for transportation accidents involving crude oil, Kelahear said.
This comes as trains are set to resume rolling again next week through Lac Megantic, a Quebec town whose downtown area suffered a devastating rail disaster caused by a runaway train.
The crash on July 6 set off a huge explosion that killed 47 people. The inferno raged for two days, forcing the evacuation of 2,000 residents and destroying a large swathe of the town.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013