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Bill C-393, The Railway Noise and Vibration Control Act

by on March 21, 2012

Numerous people have asked us what happened to Bill C-587, the Railway Noise and Vibration Control Act.

As this Bill had not yet been passed by the time the federal election was called in the spring of 2011, it effectively “died on the order paper,” and proceeded no further, as is the case with all Bills that do not make it completely through the parliamentary process prior to an election being called.

However, an updated version of this Bill was recently introduced back into Parliament by New Westminster M.P. Peter Julian.

Bill C-393, the Railway Noise and Vibration Control Act, proposes significant restrictions on the rail industry, in order to curb their impact on residential communities. It states:

95.11 When constructing or operating a railway within 300 metres of any residential, institutional or commercial establishment, a railway company shall not shunt, couple or decouple cars or leave an engine with its motor idling
(a) at any time on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, and
(b) before 8:00 a.m. and after 10:00 p.m. on any other day,
except as authorized by the Minister for a specific period during a national emergency declared under the Emergencies Act.

Julian believes that the railways must be held accountable and that “the solution is to keep pushing for tough legislation.”

However, we believe that it’s time to ask Parliament to regulate not only railway noise and vibration, but to also set into place strict regulations to limit residential exposure to diesel emissions from rail operations, particularly from idling locomotives left for hours on end, sometimes even longer.

Currently, the public can seek relief under existing legislation for the noise and vibration from idling locomotives, but not specifically, diesel fumes.

It’s time to ask our elected officials to address this human health issue.

Diesel emissions from rail operations tend to be discussed in terms relating to greenhouse gases, but seldom in terms of the effects that diesel exhaust and particulate matter are known to potentially have on people.

It’s time to address the railway’s soot-covered white elephant, the public’s exposure to railway diesel fumes.

We urge Canadian residents concerned or affected by railway noise pollution and vibration to contact their own M.P. and ask them to support this Bill, and for help in protecting people and communities from the railway’s air quality issues as well. We include Mr. Julian’s press release for our reader’s information and distribution:





OTTAWA – Peter Julian, MP (Burnaby-New Westminster), today tabled a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons, Bill C-393, The Railway Noise and Vibration Control Act.

Bill C-393 would prohibit railway companies from engaging in noisy rail yard activities during unreasonable hours in residential areas between the hours of 10pm and 8am.

“Existing legislation allows companies to pay lip service to the complaints of residents and continue their unreasonable and unresponsive behaviour”, said Julian. “We are left with no other choice but to carry on the fight in the courts and reverse the legislative changes brought forth by the Senate in 2007. The wellbeing of our sleep deprived communities was negotiated away and the solution is to keep pushing for tough legislation. That is what C-393 is about”, said Julian.

In 2007, The Standing Committee on Transportation amended Bill C-11 to introduce changes toughening Railway noise regulations which the House of Commons passed. The Senate amended these provisions, rendering them ineffective.

Peter has held a number of town hall meetings to discuss with residents of New Westminster the ongoing problem of high railway noise activities in the Westminster Quay neighborhood. Railway companies have continued to carry out high noise activities in the evening, overnight, and early in the morning, seriously disrupting the lives of residents.

“Our offices have been receiving complaints on rail noise and I urge concerned communities to pressure this government to listen to reason and common sense. Quayside residents, in fact all Canadians, are entitled to a good night’s sleep”, said Julian.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Office of Peter Julian

Phone: 613-222-4074




© Copyright 2012

  1. Todd Busch permalink

    Once again, a useful reference is THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY, by SAMUEL WARREN & LOUIS D. BRANDEIS, Originally published in 4 Harvard Law Review 193 (1890).

    These two authors emphasize at the introduction to their publication that “It could be done only on principles of private justice, moral fitness, and public convenience, which, when applied to a new subject, make common law without a precedent; much more when received and approved by usage.” Willes, J., in Millar v. Taylor, 4 Burr, 2303, 2312.

    This reference to Millar v. Taylor is actually expressly recognizing a prior legal argument, by book publishers, to a right to copyright to the exclusion of having a published work ever entering the public domain.

    Wikipedia, Millar v Taylor (1769) 4 Burr. 2303, 98 ER 201 is an English court decision that held there is a perpetual common law copyright and that no works ever enter the public domain. It represented a major victory for the bookseller monopolies.

    To my understanding of the circumstances associated with the issue of railway noise and vibration within the boundaries of the City of New Westminster, attorneys for the railway(s) have exerted a claim to a right to privacy over the distribution of the written contents of their agreement with a group of residents.

    So, the railways companies’ attorneys, and the railway companies themselves, are advocating a legal position that has been used, in other places and times, to establish a right to privacy that extends to the “legal value of sensations” of individuals within a legal context.

    Will there be consequential legal action in Canada that recognizes the “legal value of sensations” for Canadians? Thanks to the attorneys for the railway companies, their advocacy of copyright is a step in the “right” direction.

  2. Jeff Willsie permalink

    Hi Train Jane
    I hope you took note of the federal governments action to protect the national economy with regards to the CP Rail strike.
    Bill C-393 has no chance in passing. Not even a remote one!
    If you do not like living in the railways back yard you should MOVE!
    I wonder how you will try to twist this to your desparate attempt to control the very nature of the railway that was operating long before you nimbys were even born.
    Jeff Willsie
    Ontario Southland Railway

    • trainjane permalink

      Hello Mr. Willsie, you’ve once again missed the point.

      What we feel is most important in the tabling of Bill C-393 in further addressing railway noise and vibration problems is not so much whether it succeeds or not; it’s in keeping the issue active, open, and debated within our Parliament.

      It’s essential to engage our elected officials in this regard and keep them up to date in understanding the complexities of this issue. That’s one of the reasons why we urge affected citizens to make their circumstances known to their M.P.’s.

      It took several attempts to get railway noise and vibration provisions passed as Amendments to The Canada Transportation Act in 2007. Additional provisions might similarly take more than one attempt, and further evolve along the way in order to be both socially and economically sustainable.

      To us, that’s an incentive, not a deterrent.

  3. Gary Prokovich permalink

    We were here first– the mentality of a 5 year old. Do not forget about the massive fumes from trains BC SOUTHERN RAIL New Westminsterb BC on River Drive. You cannot open your windows for the fumes from most of their engines never mind excessive engine noise at idling not including slammiing down the throttle and shaking and vibrating the house like the train is inside. What happened to pollution in the enviroment? Or about railroadsb comments you should move. Come and see me and you will see who will to the railroad CLOWNS that should work for the PNE or CNE. Once again i reiterate go to their house and blow your horn all nite. Think you will be arrested?

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