What one city is doing to fight secrecy surrounding dangerous goods transported by rail.
The city of Windsor is pushing back against railroads that want to only release information on dangerous goods transported through municipalities upon the signing of a strict confidentiality agreement that, the city argues, gives companies too much discretion over how the data is used.
Under a Transport Canada directive, rail companies are required to supply municipalities with historical data on the types and amounts of dangerous goods that have travelled through them by rail.
The information, meant to allow for better emergency planning, is only to go to a select few officials after they’ve signed a nondisclosure agreement, which stipulates they will only use the data for emergency planning, share it with those who “need to know,” and keep the information confidential and ensure those they’ve shared it with do, too, “to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
Windsor’s fire chief, solicitors and council took issue with a clause of the nondisclosure statement that essentially removes the city’s ability to argue if a company seeks a court injunction to stop officials from sharing the information.