Statement

Associated links (R19C0015)

TSB statement concerning CBC report related to TSB investigator comments about the Canadian Pacific freight train accident near Field, BC, in February 2019

Gatineau, Quebec, 28 January 2020  — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) conducts all of its investigations using a longstanding, systematic methodology and within the scope of its mandate as laid out in the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act (CTAISB Act).

Both the methodology and the CTAISB Act ensure that the exclusive focus of the TSB’s independent transportation safety investigations is to find out what factors caused or contributed to an occurrence, to identify safety deficiencies, and to make recommendations aimed at preventing similar occurrences from happening again.

All TSB investigations—including the TSB investigation into the fatal Canadian Pacific Railway freight train accident that occurred near Field, BC, in February 2019 (R19C0015)—respect paragraph 7(2) of the CTAISB Act, which makes it very clear that it is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Consequently, it was completely inappropriate for the lead TSB investigator in the Field investigation to voice any opinion implying civil or criminal liability. The TSB advised CBC late on 27 January 2020 that it does not share the view of this investigator.

The TSB is committed to conducting an independent, thorough and objective investigation to identify all of the causal and contributing factors that led to this tragic accident. Paragraph 7(2) of the CTAISB Act also states that the Board shall not refrain from fully reporting on the causes and contributing factors merely because fault or liability might be inferred from the Board’s findings.

When the TSB investigates an occurrence, other organizations may conduct their own inquiries into an occurrence for different purposes—including, for instance, police investigations, investigations under the Labour Code, or other judicial proceedings—but that kind of inquiry is outside the TSB’s mandate and is held completely separate from the TSB’s safety investigation.

See more information about the TSB’s independent investigation process.


The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca

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