Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier created the Board of Railway Commissioners in February of 1904. It had been the brainchild of Andrew Blair, the Minister of Railways and Canals, who had been working since 1896 on creating a regulatory body for the railway industry in Canada, and had written the legislation creating it which was passed by Parliament the previous March. Blair was appointed as the first Chairman of the Board; however, he resigned within ten months over Laurier’s National Transcontinental Railway.
(In 1903, the Grand Trunk Railway [GTR], a large railway in eastern Canada, approached the Canadian Northern Railway [CNoR], a large railway in western Canada, about joining together to form a second transcontinental railway to compete with the Canadian Pacific Railway [CPR]. The CNoR said no, because they had instead decided to buy steamships to cross the Great Lakes and connect the Atlantic with its docks at Port Arthur [which is now half of Thunder Bay]. For that reason, the GTR struck a deal with Laurier’s government: the GTR would build the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway [GTPR] from the Pacific to Winnipeg; the federal government would build the National Transcontinental Railway [NTR] from the Atlantic to Winnipeg; and the two would run the transcontinental line together. A collapse of freight traffic during World War I caused the GTR and CNoR to go bankrupt, and were taken over by the government during the formation of Canadian National Railways in 1918.)
The Board of Railway Commissioners eventually took over all federal regulation of ground transport, as well as regulation of telecommunications, and was renamed the Board of Transportation Commissioners in 1938. Parallel regulatory bodies were established for air transport in 1944 and sea transport in 1947 with the Air Transport Board and the Canadian Maritime Commission, respectively. These three agencies were merged together in 1967 to form the Canadian Transport Commission, and telecommunications regulation was transferred from it to the CTRC in 1976. The CTC’s name was changed to the National Transportation Agency in 1987 following the deregulation of the airline industry, then in 1996 it became its current form, the Canadian Transportation Agency, following further industrial deregulation.
The Chairmen of the Board of Railway Commissioners and Chairmen of the Board of Transportation Commissioners were:
Hon. Andrew George Blair PC, February-December 1904.
Albert Clements Killam, 1905-08.
James Pitt Mabee, 1908-12.
Hon. Sir Henry Lumley Drayton PC, Kt., 1912-19.
Hon. Frank Broadstreet Carvell PC, 1919-24.
Harrison Andrew McKeown, 1924-31.
Charles Percy Fullerton, 1931-33.
Simon J. McLean (acting), 1933-35
Hon. Hugh Guthrie PC, 1935-39.
Col. James Albert Cross CMG DSO, 1939-48.
Maynard Brown Archibald, 1948-51.
John D. Kearney, 1951-57.
Clarence Day Shepard, 1957-58.
Roderick Kerr, 1958-67.
The Chairmen of the Air Transport Board were:
Robert Alexander Cecil Henry, 1944-48.
John Russel Baldwin, 1949-54.
Wilbert Jamieson Matthews, 1954-58.
Paul Yettvart Davoud OBE DSO DFC, 1959-63.
Frederick Thomas Wood, 1963-65.
Joseph Louis Gérard Morriset, 1965-67.
The Chairmen of the Canadian Maritime Commission were:
John Valentine Clyne CC, 1947-50.
Jean-Claude Lessard, 1950-53.
Louis de la Chesnaye Audette OC, 1953-59.
Alexander Watson, 1959-65.
Howard Jackson Darling, 1966-67.
The Chairmen of the Canadian Transport Commission, Chairs of the National Transportation Agency and Chairs of the Canadian Transportation Agency have been:
Rt. Hon. John Whitney Pickersgill PC CC, 1967-72.
Hon. Edgar John Benson PC, 1972-82.
John T. Gray (acting), 1982-83
Hon. Jean Marchand PC CC, 1983-85.
J. David Thompson (acting), 1985-87
Hon. Erik Hersholt Nielsen PC DFC, 1987-92.
Micheline Beaudry (acting), 1992-93
Gilles Rivard, 1993-96.
Marian Lorraine Robson, 1996-2006.
Gilles Dufault (acting), 2006-07
Geoffrey C. Hare, 2007-now.