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Watchlist 2014


The mandate of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is to advance transportation safety, and the Watchlist is one of its key tools. By making public the list of those issues posing the greatest risk to Canada’s transportation system, the TSB aims to focus the attention of industry and regulators on the problems that need addressing today.

The eight issues on this list are supported by hundreds of investigation reports, safety concerns, and Board recommendations. In each case, the TSB has determined that action taken to date is insufficient and more needs to be done to eliminate the risks.

There are ongoing challenges facing Canada’s transportation system. With compelling arguments supporting the Watchlist issues, the TSB expects the regulator and industry to make significant progress in tackling these challenges. And as advancements are made, and the risks are either eliminated or substantially reduced, future versions of the Watchlist will evolve. Until then, Canadians can be sure that the TSB will continue to push for increased safety along the country’s waterways, on its pipelines and railroads, and in the sky.


Approach-and-landing accidents

Landing accidents continue to occur at Canadian airports.


Transport Canada and operators must do more to reduce the number of unstable approaches that are continued to a landing.

Transport Canada also must complete its risk-based analysis and move forward with regulatory changes.

Airports must develop tailored solutions to lengthen runway end safety areas or install other engineered systems and structures to safely stop planes that overrun runways.

Risk of collisions on runways

There is an ongoing risk of aircraft colliding with vehicles or other aircraft on the ground at Canadian airports.


Improved procedures and enhanced collision warning systems must be implemented at Canada’s airports.


Loss of life on fishing vessels

The number of accidents involving loss of life on fishing vessels remains too high.


Although regulations have been proposed to address several of the safety deficiencies, there have been significant delays in the implementation of some of these initiatives.

Furthermore, new regulations alone are not enough. Concerted and coordinated action is required by federal and provincial authorities and by leaders in the fishing community to improve the safety culture in fishing operations, recognizing the interaction of safety deficiencies.


Safety management and oversight

Some transportation companies are not effectively managing their safety risks, and Transport Canada oversight and intervention has not always proven effective at changing companies’ unsafe operating practices.


Transport Canada must implement regulations requiring all operators in the air and marine industries to have formal safety management processes. And Transport Canada must oversee these processes.

In all transportation modes, those companies that do have a safety management system must, in turn, demonstrate that it is working—that hazards are being identified and effective risk mitigation measures are being implemented.

Finally, when companies are unable to effectively manage safety, Transport Canada must not only intervene, but do so in a manner that succeeds in changing unsafe operating practices.


Railway crossing safety

The risk of trains and vehicles colliding at crossings remains too high.


Transport Canada must implement new grade crossing regulations, develop enhanced standards or guidelines for certain types of crossing signs, and continue its leadership in assessing crossing safety and funding improvements.

A comprehensive solution must also include consultation with provincial authorities and further public driver education on the dangers at railway crossings.

Transportation of flammable liquids by rail

The increase in the transportation of flammable liquids—such as crude oil—by rail across North America has created emerging risks that need to be effectively mitigated.


Railway companies must conduct route planning and analysis, and perform risk assessments to ensure that risk-control measures are effective.

Additionally, flammable liquids must be shipped in more robust tank cars to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous goods release during accidents.

Following railway signal indications

There is a risk of a serious train collision or derailment if railway signals are not consistently recognized and followed.


Additional physical safety defences must be implemented to ensure that railway signal indications governing operating speed or operating limits are consistently recognized and followed.

On-board video and voice recorders

With no requirement for on-board video and voice recorders on locomotives, key information to advance railway safety may not always be available.


The railway industry must ensure that communications and interactions in locomotive cabs are recorded.

The TSB is committed to working with the regulator and the railway industry to remove legislative barriers.

Our mission

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is an independent agency that makes transportation safer by investigating marine, pipeline, rail, and air transportation accidents, and communicating the results to Canadians.

For more information, visit or contact us at or 1-800-387-3557.