Railway Companies to Maintain All Railway Crossings Without Charging Land & Business Owners

Res #: 10-22A
Number: 10
Year: 2022
Midterm: No
Expired: No
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Transport Canada

WHEREAS railway companies have submitted invoices to private land and business owners including agriculture producers who have a crossing along the railway line not situated on an RM road requesting that they pay a fee up front as well as an annual fee for railway companies to maintain the crossing;
WHEREAS it should not be the responsibility of private landowners to maintain the railway companies’ crossing and bear the burden of liability as a result of damage to vehicles due to the railway companies’ crossing and that responsibility and liability should fall on the railway companies;
WHEREAS private landowners will not necessarily be able to afford this annual maintenance fee or be willing to pay an annual maintenance fee and associated costs that are not economical, thereby causing railway companies to remove the railway crossing;
WHEREAS the removal of railway crossings may create the need for:
a) a rural municipality to build a new road;
b) alternatively, if there is an accessible road in existence, it will cause additional traffic on said road causing the RM additional maintenance costs as well as causing the possibility of additional traffic accidents;
c) a longer hauling distance for agriculture producers causing additional costs and time;
d) longer driving distance for local property owners and businesses; and
WHEREAS the removal of railway crossings may cause delays in emergency vehicles accessing private landowners and businesses.
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the federal government to ensure that railway companies maintain all railway crossings without charging private land and business owners; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government make it mandatory for railway companies to reimburse any private land and business owners who may have already paid the railway companies for

Responses From: Transport Canada

March 4, 2024

Thank you for your correspondence of February 16, 2024, regarding the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities’ Resolution 10-22A related to grade crossings.

I understand that local landowners and business owners in the area are concerned with the costs of maintaining private rail crossings. I also appreciate your association’s concerns about the potential loss of the benefits of these crossings, including reduced congestion and road maintenance, and access for emergency vehicles, if landowners are unable to reach an agreement with the railways and they are subsequently removed.

Transport Canada remains committed to protecting those who live and work along rail lines by putting in place the necessary measures to reduce the risk of serious accidents at crossings, as well as aiding and advising municipalities, the rail industry, and various rail-related associations.

The Grade Crossing Regulations (GCR) apply to all public and private crossings, and promote safer crossings, clarify roles and responsibilities, and provide comprehensive safety standards. Amendments were made in 2021 that exempted low-risk crossings from specific sections of the GCR and extended the deadline for companies to come into compliance.

Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program plays an important role in addressing ongoing safety needs and emerging safety concerns across Canada. The program provides federal funding grants or contributions to a wide range of applicants, and its objectives are to improve rail safety; contribute to increasing safety at grade crossings and along rail lines; address climate change resiliency; and increase public confidence in Canada’s rail transportation system.

The Canada Transportation Act sets out the regulatory framework for private road crossings over the right-of-way of a federally regulated railway. In some cases, the railway company is responsible for the costs of constructing or maintaining a private crossing, whereas in other cases, the responsibility falls to the landowner.

Landowners who cannot reach an agreement may seek assistance from the Canadian Transportation Agency, which serves as an independent tribunal for the resolution of crossing disputes. The Agency can be contacted through its website at or its Railway, Rail Shippers and Community Help Line at 1-877-850-7148.

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez – Minister of Transport Canada and Quebec Lieutenant