2016 National Railway Day Conference Presentations
Roger Woodhead, Ph.D., P Eng, SNC-Lavalin- PDF
Bob Oliver, Principal, Tech-K.O., Inc-PDF
Nicole Girard, Director General, Transportation Dangerous Goods- PDF
Faye Ackermans, Transportation Safety Board of Canada- Link to website
Tony Marquis, Senior Vice-President Operations, Eastern Region, CP-PDF
Bruno Soto, General Director Locomotive Reliability, BNSF-PDF
Greg Percy, Chief Operating Officer, Metrolinx-PDF
Ron Marshall, Director Of Engineering Central Maine & Quebec Railway-PDF
Elton Toma, Ph.D., P.Eng., Research Council Officer, NRC-PDF
Mike Roney, Consultant, Iron Moustache-PDF
Rail Industry Update March 2016
The Rail Industry in Canada is an important part of the Canadian economy.
More than 93,000 people are employed in Canada in the Rail Industry, 33,000 by railways and another 60,000 by railway suppliers. Railway employees earn $3 Billion each year and suppliers add another $4 Billion for a total of more than $9 Billion in private sector wages each year.
In addition, Railways alone pay more than $1.3 Billion in taxes each year while investing almost $2 Billion a year in new capital expenditures. (2013 Railway Association of Canada)
Canada’s railways move 75 million people and $282 Billion worth of goods every year, while relieving road congestion and helping to limit harmful emissions.
As well, in 2012 more than 2 Billion passengers were moved by commuter transit agencies across Canada. And Capital expenditures for transit totalled $4 Billion in 2011 and more than $15 Billion for the years 2007 to 2011.
Canada is also a global leader in transit technology. Major international train and bus suppliers operate research, development and production centres in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Other Canadian companies are known for technology and design innovation in automatic train control, planning and operations software, safety and video surveillance systems, electronic signs and information systems. Canadian transit suppliers exported $751 million worth of goods in 2012.
Over the last four years GDP growth in Canada has slowed below 2% after a slow recovery from the worldwide recession of 2008. Then the Canadian economy was hit hard by the dramatic drop in oil prices in 2014 and the subsequent decline of the value of the Canadian dollar by almost 30% against the US dollar. Alberta alone lost 65,000 jobs since October 2014 because of lower oil prices. And most forecasters including the Federal Government expect oil prices to remain low for the next few years.
The world economy is also in recession, resulting in fewer export opportunities for Canadian businesses despite the lower dollar. The Global economy slowed in 2015 to its weakest pace since 2008. China had its lowest GDP growth in 25 years and GDP growth in Europe was stagnant at .9% in 2014.
Only the US held GDP growth steady at 2.4% in 2015 giving an opportunity for Canadian manufacturers to increase exports with the lower dollar. The good news for the Canadian economy is that manufacturing jobs are returning and with 77% of Canada’s exports going to the United States, this should boost confidence to invest in additional productive capacity.
In order to kick start the Canadian economy the Federal government has decided in its March 2016 Budget to invest $60 Billion over the next 10 years in infrastructure projects including transit and transportation. The rational is that with interest rates at historical lows and with Canada’s debt to GDP ratio at 32%, the lowest of the G7 nations, this is the time to invest in infrastructure.
This will be good for the rail industry.
According to the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), Canada’s transit infrastructure needed $56 Billion in capital investment for the period 2014 to 2018. And three cities, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver account for 56% of needed investments estimated to cost $31 Billion.
In response, both the Federal and Ontario governments have pledged new funding to fill the gap. In February 2016 the Government of Ontario reconfirmed its commitment to spend $31.5 Billion over the next ten years on transit and transportation projects.
In March 2016, the Federal Government committed $3.4 billion over three years in additional funding for public transit systems in Canada. The Government also changed its policies and will fund up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for projects which will allow several large projects to move forward more quickly. They also repeated a promise to deliver a long-term infrastructure plan at a cost of $60 Billion over the next 10 years.