Upcoming Conference: Have the Lessons of the Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster Been Learned?

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2016

On December 8th, professors David Robitaille and Jennifer Quaid (Civil Law Section), professor Heather McLeod-Kilmurray (Common Law Section), and Bruce Campbell, Visiting Fellow at the University of Ottawa,  will take part in the conference Have the Lessons of the Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster Been Learned?

It has been more than three years since the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, which killed 47 people, left 27 children orphaned, spilled six million litres of crude oil, and traumatized a community.  On December 8, 2016, the University of Ottawa will host “Have the Lessons of the Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster Been Learned?”, a conference exploring the impact of the disaster and the future of energy transportation in Canada.  

Combining lives lost, environmental damage and physical destruction, the July 6, 2013 Lac–Mégantic disaster is – outside of wartime – without precedent in modern Canadian history. Lac-Mégantic, was the victim of a deeply flawed rail safety regime, corporate negligence, and a willful blindness by companies and government authorities to the dangers of a massive growth in the transportation of Bakken crude oil by rail during this period.

Have the fundamental causes of regulatory failure behind Lac-Mégantic been fully brought to light? Has it led to the necessary improvements in the rail safety system? How has the justice system dealt with the consequences of Lac-Mégantic?  What does it say about our oil dependence and climate commitments?

This conference will address four critically important issues: 1) the impact of the disaster on the Lac-Mégantic community; 2) the ability of the transportation regulatory system to ensure that the transportation of dangerous goods by rail can be done safely; 3) the ability of the Canadian justice system to deal with the consequences of  Lac-Mégantic and other major disasters, as well as the role of local authorities in the Canadian constitutional context; and 4) the implications of the disaster for the future development of energy transportation infrastructure and unconventional oil development.

The conference will bring together, for the first time in a public forum, representatives of citizens’ groups from Lac-Mégantic to engage with politicians, legal scholars, rail safety and regulatory policy experts. The conference will provide a much-needed opportunity for discussion, debate and identification of possible avenues of consensus for moving forward.
 

WHAT:  “Have the Lessons of the Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster Been Learned?”, a conference exploring the impact of the disaster and the future of energy transportation in Canada.

WHEN:  December 8, 2016, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

WHERE:  University of Ottawa, Desmarais Building (55 Laurier), room 12102

FEE:  $25 per person (students may register for free)

Click here to access the conference registration form.

Click here to view the conference program

The conference organizers would like to thank all sponsors, including the University of Ottawa, the uOttawa Faculty of Law (Common Law Section and Civil Law Section), the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, York University, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Law Foundation of Ontario, and the Union of Canadian Transportation Employees.

Back to top