July 30, 2007

VIA Rail Montreal maintenance centre recertified to ISO 14001 standard

MONTREAL, QUE-VIA Rail's Montreal maintenance centre, the largest in the crown corporation's network, recently had its Environmental Management System (EMS) recertified to the ISO 14001 standard. First granted in 2001, the certification was renewed for a three-year period after the maintenance centre successfully passed an independent audit. The international standard aims at encouraging the continual improvement of ecological performance, and after six years under ISO 14001, the Montreal maintenance centre has become a model for sustainable operations. Claude Bellware, the centre's director, said the certification has generated a "green mentality" among its staff. "We remain strongly proactive and handle each situation of non-compliance with a set of elaborate, well-documented and innovative processes," he said. One such process involves removing and re-using grease and solid residues through the centre's wastewater treatment system. Over the past two years, the centre has reduced its use of chemical products by 50%. A system has also been put in place to recycle brass, copper, aluminum, wood, fabric, leather, rubber, paint and solvent. "Our success is due to the extraordinary commitment of our employees," Bellware said, adding, "Their enthusiasm has led to some very original ideas, like our Green Corners, where just about anything can be recycled." The ISO 14001 certification has also been granted to VIA Rail's Winnipeg, Vancouver and Mission, British Columbia maintenance facilities.

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