The federal government is pulling 5,000 older tank cars off the rails immediately as it adopts the major rail safety recommendations of the Transportation Safety Board.
Transport Minister Lisa Raitt says the least crash-resistant of the older tank cars must be removed from the rails immediately.
She says older tank cars carrying crude oil and ethanol must be phased out or retrofitted within three years.
Rail carriers will also be required to prepare emergency response assistance plans for shipments of all petroleum products, including everything for crude oil to diesel.
Emergency response is to be improved across the country through a task force involving municipalities, first responders, railways and shippers.
The actions are the latest response to last summer's horrific derailment and fire in Lac Megantic that claimed 47 lives.
Concerns about the safety of tank cars, known at DOT 111s, date back at least 20 years.
The DOT-111 tank car is considered the workhorse of the North American fleet and makes up about 70 per cent of all tankers on the rails.