Workers safety must always come before profits « Canada’s NDP

October 20, 2022 at 7:30 am  Federal, Politics

OTTAWA – Today, NDP Transport Critic Taylor Bachrach and NDP Labour Critic Alexandre Boulerice called on the Liberal government to abolish private rail police and stop allowing big rail corporations to investigate themselves when workers are injured or killed on the job. The NDP MPs were joined by individuals who have lost loved ones in rail accidents.

“No worker should have to worry about their wellbeing while they’re on the job. But rail workers have been severely injured, and some have been killed, while working because of unsafe working conditions,” said Bachrach. “And instead of having impartial investigations when there are deadly incidents, rail companies’ own private police forces are the ones investigating. History has shown these corporations prioritize profits over people. Allowing them to investigate themselves creates an egregious conflict of interest.”

For seven years, the Liberals have had the chance to stand up to big railway corporations that neglect their workplace safety duties and inspection requirements. Canada’s auditor general has repeatedly raised concerns about the federal government’s oversight of rail companies’ safety systems.

Last spring, a report from the Transportation Committee recommended changes to Canada’s Railway Safety Act to address the conflict of interest that exists when rail corporations use private police to conduct investigations. The NDP is calling for the creation of an independent rail police force, which would be funded by rail corporations and accountable to a civilian oversight commission.

“This is a matter of safety for workers, passengers and our communities,” said Boulerice. “The Liberals would rather protect the profits of the big rail corporations than protect people. That has to change. The NDP refuses to put the interests of a bad corporate citizen like Canadian Pacific on the same level as the safety and security of the people of Canada.”

“I’ve spoken with loved ones who have been devastated by the loss of family members and friends in rail incidents. They’ve never gotten the answers they deserve because there is little accountability for rail companies,” added Bachrach. “New Democrats know the safety of workers is more important than the profits of huge rail companies. We will keep fighting to hold big railway corporations accountable.”

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