RCMP helicopter view of Lac-Megantic, the day of the derailment, July 6, 2013

Bachrach pledges stronger rail laws, enforcement in 10 years after Lac-Mégantic disaster

Bachrach wants to reform stronger rail laws to prevent another disaster similar to Lac-Mégantic

July 6, 2013, marks Canada’s one of the worst rail disasters with a runaway 72 tank cars train full of oil derailed and exploded at the heart of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Today marks Lac-Mégantic rail disaster’s 10-year anniversary.

The NDP wants to honour this day in the memory of 47 people who lost their lives in this disaster and pledged to prevent such unforeseeable catastrophe from happening by pushing federal changes.

“On the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives, and with all community members who were so profoundly affected.” said Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, who is also the NDP Transport Critic.

He highlighted that the Lac-Mégantic disaster could have been avoided with proper safety measures in the Canadian rail system and yet a decade later federal law and regulations are not reformed properly.

“It is in their memory that we continue to push for stronger rail safety laws that hold rail corporations accountable. The reality is that another Lac-Mégantic-scale disaster is still possible because the culture of corporate capture and self-regulation that allowed it to occur still exists,” he said.

Over the years, trains have been carrying large volumes of goods which are considered dangerous have increased. Records of the Transport Safety Board of Canada says, among 9,283 rail incidents between 2013 and 2022, roughly 1,060 incidents were involved with dangerous goods.

These incidents killed 559 people and seriously injured 529 others.

Last year, Bachrach made 33 recommendations for strengthening Canada’s rail safety regime during the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities hold hearings.

“Nevertheless, the volume of dangerous goods shipped by rail has increased dramatically, which means the stakes have never been higher,” he stated. “The Auditor General, the Environment Commissioner, the Transportation Safety Board, and the Transport Committee all been ringing the alarm bells, but the minister seems to be asleep at the switch.”

“If we don’t see substantive reform soon, I am deeply concerned that another major, and preventable disaster will take place,” he also said.


Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac-Mégantic, Que., Saturday, July 6, 2013. Closing arguments will continue in Quebec today at the jury trial of three men charged with criminal negligence in the Lac-Megantic rail disaster that killed 47 people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson