Transportation Safety Board of Canada releases 2020 transportation occurrences statistics

Building on the preliminary statistics published in February 2021, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its 2020 annual statistical summaries on transportation occurrences in the airmarinepipeline, and rail sectors.

Air

In early 2020, broad travel restrictions were put in place in Canada and around the world in an effort to contain a new coronavirus that was rapidly spreading. The impact on commercial aviation was immediate, widespread, and lasting, with air transportation activity in Canada being greatly reduced during most of 2020.

In 2020, a total of 170 air transportation accidents were reported to the TSB. This number is 25% lower than the previous year’s total of 227 accidents and 32% below the average of 251 accidents reported in the prior 10 years, 2010 to 2019. Most (165) of the accidents in 2020 took place in Canada and involved Canadian-registered aircraft.

In 2020, 13 fatalities resulted from accidents involving Canadian-registered airplanes and helicopters (excluding ultralights), yielding a rate of 0.5 fatalities per 100 000 hours flown. This fatality rate is substantially lower than the 2019 rate of 1.1, and below the average yearly rate of 1.0 from 2010 to 2019.

Marine

In 2020, 262 marine accidents (accidents resulting directly from the operation of a ship other than a pleasure craft) were reported to the TSB, down from the 2019 total of 267 and below the 10-year (2010–2019) average of 289. In 2020 the proportion of shipping accidents (as opposed to accidents aboard ship) was 84% of marine accidents, comparable to the previous 10-year average of 82%.

In 2020, 18 marine fatalities were reported, up from the 17 fatalities reported in 2019, and above the annual average of 15.4 in the 2010–2019 time period. Of the 18 fatalities in 2020, 12 were the result of four shipping accidents, while the remaining six fatalities resulted from five accidents aboard ship.

All of the 12 shipping accident fatalities in 2020 involved commercial fishing vessels, highlighting the need to improve commercial fishing safety, an outstanding issue on the TSB Watchlist.

Pipeline

In 2020, there were 81 pipeline transportation occurrences reported to the TSB, none of which were accidents. This number is below the average number of occurrences for the previous 10 years; fluctuations to the reported numbers over this period may result from various factors, including changes to regulations and definitions. On average, from 2010 to 2019, 124 occurrences were reported each year (120 incidents and four accidents per year).

Of 81 occurrences in 2020, 18 involved a release of product, far lower than the average of 88 per year over the previous 10 years. There have been no fatal accidents on a federally regulated pipeline system directly resulting from the operation of a pipeline since the inception of the TSB in 1990.

There were no accidents, serious injuries, or fatalities arising directly from the operation of any federally regulated pipeline in 2020.

Rail

In 2020, 965 rail accidents were reported to the TSB, down from the 2019 total of 1256, and an 11% decrease from the previous 10-year (2010–2019) average of 1083. Freight trains accounted for 34% of all trains involved in rail accidents in 2020. Four percent (42 in total) were passenger trains, with the remaining 62% comprising mainly single cars/cuts of cars, locomotives, and track units.

Rail fatalities totalled 59 in 2020, down from 72 reported last year and below the previous 10-year average of 73.

In 2020, 82 accidents involved dangerous goods, down from 171 in 2019 and below the 10-year average of 131. Three accidents resulted in a dangerous goods release in 2020, compared with eight in 2019, and the 10-year average of four.

 

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation 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.

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