BLG provides comprehensive advice to a range of federally and provincially regulated railways (including light rail transportation) operating across Canada and for shippers, terminals and consignees. We have extensive experience working with federal and provincial regulatory agencies, including Transport Canada and other provincial ministries of transportation, as well as strong contacts within those organizations. We advise clients on applicable regulatory regimes, assist them with compliance issues in respect to general rail operations and more specifically to rail line construction and to right-of-way rights and approval, service obligations, interswitching regulation and a host of other transportation rules and regulations. We advise railways and shippers regarding confidential transportation agreements and assist them before the CTA as necessary. We have deep experience with railway litigation including derailments, environmental, personal injury, occupier's liability, regulatory hearings, employment and tax issues. We also advise on the applicability of Canadian rules of origin to a variety of manufactured and primary goods.

BLG lawyers represent parties across all segments of the global transportation industry, including railways, terminals, ocean carriers and operators, major trucking and transport companies, as well as some of the major air and sea freight forwarders. Below is a sample of the types of clients we represent in the logistics and transportation areas:

  • Federally and provincially regulated railways;
  • Container and bulk commodity terminals;
  • Shippers;
  • A national passenger transportation management company serving transit agencies; and
  • Global providers of integrated logistics services including comprehensive logistics solutions, global supply chain management, freight forwarding, logistics and specialized services over land and sea (including chemical transportation and specialized industry experience).


Representative Work


  • Advising on shared infrastructure agreements, rail crossing agreements and requirements and priority of ownership in the case of intersection between rail lines and municipal rights of way;
  • Assisting clients with a variety of customs issues (including those dealing with the origin of goods) both at the advisory stage and at the dispute level in the event of conflict with the Canada Border Services Agency;
  • Reviewing and advising “short line” railways on Emergency Response Assistance Plans relating to the carriage of petroleum products;
  • Advising major Canadian cities on their light rail projects;
  • Advising engineering firms on international and domestic rail projects;
  • Advising on provincial and federal railway regulations including those relating to construction, safety and operations more generally;
  • Advising local governments with respect to the establishment of new intermodal rail yards in their jurisdiction;
  • Providing legal advice in relation to Canadian Transportation Agency precedents and practices;
  • Facilitating industrial site development for railways, for example working with joint ventures to build a rail marine terminal for coal;
  • Working with railways with respect to labour relations matters; and
  • Advising as to municipal zoning and land use matters, issuance and necessity of various types of construction permits and permission, rules surrounding the transport of dangerous cargo, and real estate issues such as acquisition of parcels for expansion and renovation/maintenance.


  • Acting on the most significant acquisition of Canadian railway infrastructure in recent history;
  • Acquisition and disposition of rail industry and port assets, including financing;
  • Reviewing and drafting of general freight tariffs and passenger tariffs;
  • Drafting Right-of-Use Agreements for “short line” railways;
  • Negotiating Confidential Rate Agreements on behalf of shippers with national railway companies as well as between Class 1 railway companies and intermodal ocean carriers of containerized cargo;
  • Retained by commuter rail company with respect to the acquisition of the critical rail yards which provide for storage of train sets;
  • Negotiating land use agreements for both railways and customers, including leases and license for trans loading, statutory rights of way, track running rights and grade separate agreements;
  • Negotiating with cities, provinces and ship companies for the use of railway lands;
  • Negotiating confidential transportation agreements, locomotive use and liability agreements, private siding agreements and interchange agreements between Class 1 railways and shippers;
  • Negotiating various service and other ancillary agreements between terminals and shippers and railways;
  • Facilitating the acquisition of major “short-line” railway;
  • Drafting shared infrastructure agreements for passenger rail provider;
  • Developing capital infrastructure projects for rail operations including port terminal operations and associated leases; and
  • Negotiating major railway contracts including locomotive usage, sidings, transportation, and rail and track development.

Litigation/Dispute Resolution

  • Acting for Class 1 railways with respect to litigation including claims dealing with collisions between trains and passenger vehicles on the tracks, landlord-tenant relationships, railway sight lines, rock fall and subsequent derailments, liability reviews on historic agreements with railways that use their tracks;
  • Representing ocean carriers in litigation involving the intermodal carriage of containerized goods where damage occurred during the rail portion of transit;
  • Assisting major international corporations throughout the dispute stage;
  • Acting for local governments at trial to secure declarations of property interests against Class 1 railway;
  • Acting as counsel at regulatory hearings conducted by Canadian Transportation Agency
  • Resolving railway noise complaints made to local governments and to the Canadian Transportation Agency;
  • Acting for a Class 1 railway in an action commenced against its builders’ risk insurers; and
  • Negotiating and litigating contract disputes (including shipper disputes), insurance and other loss claims.

First Nations

  • Advising as to consultation obligations and procedure;
  • Assisting Class 1 railways in respect to Aboriginal law matters, including land claims negotiations/litigation and injunction and other proceedings arising out of First Nations blockades;
  • Acting for Class 1 railways regarding First Nations injunction work and contaminated sites; and
  • Resolving blockades of railways, negotiations with Aboriginal groups, safety concerns advanced by bands and conflicts regarding land title issues.