Performance and Initiatives

As the most environmentally-friendly inter-city transportation mode, we believe passenger rail is an important part of the environmental solution for Canada. It provides an accessible and affordable alternative to cars and supports the necessary shift we need to make to reduce the transportation sector’s contribution to climate change and smog.

We are also committed to doing our part to reduce the environmental impact of our fleet and building operations. We have set bold energy and carbon emission reduction targets in alignment with the International Union of Railway goals to limit climate change.

As we drive forward the sustainable mobility agenda in Canada, we aspire to preserve the environment for future generations.

2016 achievements:

  • 235,155 tonnes of COA2e of cabon avoided by VIA Rail in 2016, when compared to car travel
  • -39% reduction in GHG emissions since 1990
  • Maintained our ISA 14001 EMS certification of three of our maintenance centres
  • -89% rediction in sulphur dioxyde air contaminants since 2010

Reduce, re-use, recycle

Everyone at VIA is encouraged to develop ¨reduce, re-use, recycle¨ strategies in the workplace and on board VIA’s trains. A Green Procurement guide emphasizes the use of environmentally responsible products in all business activities. For example, recycled paper is used for onboard products such as napkins and toilet paper, and for printed materials such as train schedules. Coffee served on trains is 100 per cent fair trade coffee, which supports environmentally sustainable agriculture while improving living conditions in developing countries. Wherever possible, the Corporation recycles materials – from batteries to paper to discarded computer parts. And in recent years, maintenance teams have reduced the use of chemicals for processes such as water treatment and train cleaning by almost 50 per cent.

In 2008, VIA continued to reduce the environmental impact of on board service. For example, more products used on board, such as coffee cups, are made from recycled materials, and fair trade teas are now available. And like many responsible hotels, VIA now offers guests on the four-night journey between Toronto and Vancouver the option of receiving freshly laundered linens on request, rather than every day.