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Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Sections 44 and 44.1 of the Railway Safety Act effectively authorize Canada’s private railway corporations to own and control police forces that exercise full criminal law enforcement powers;
  • These railway corporations’ police officers are both public servants and private corporate employees who report and answer to company management in operational matters and criminal investigations;
  • Apart from one ad hoc criminal investigation that the RCMP launched in December 2020, private railway police forces have invariably asserted exclusive criminal jurisdiction over railway disasters, including cases where the railway police forces’ corporate owners were implicated;
  • In a democratic Canada, criminal investigations of fatalities and serious injuries must be entrusted to independent police forces, not the private corporations that may be responsible;
  • Systematically enabling private corporations to criminally investigate themselves violates the rule of law, police independence, and the integrity of Canada’s criminal justice system;
  • The Government of Canada has the duty to determine why, for over a century, and despite the primacy of police independence, the RCMP and Canada’s public police forces have invariably allowed private railway corporations to criminally investigate themselves through their company police forces; and
  • Private railway companies’ self-investigation model has deprived thousands of Canadians of their right to independent and accountable criminal investigations of railway tragedies.
We, the undersigned, Canadian citizens, call upon the Government of Canada to establish a national inquiry under the Inquiries Act to determine the causes and consequences of Canada’s private railway self-investigation model on the criminal investigation of thousands of railway fatalities, serious injuries, explosions, and environmental disasters.

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