The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council No. 11 is a union. We represent over 1,400 railroad signals and communications employees throughout Canada.

Our members install and maintain signals and trackside equipment for most of the nation’s railroads. Automatic signals and switches installed and maintained by our members allow railroads to move large numbers of freight and passenger trains at higher speed and with great safety. Our members also install and maintain the warning systems used at railroad-highway crossings. We play a vital role in ensuring the safety of highway travellers.

Some signals and communications workers are tasked with construction, installing, upgrading systems or making major repair. They maintain and inspect the equipment after installation.

Signals and communications employees inspect and maintain the equipment on a regular schedule. They work with special test equipment to check mechanical devices and the sophisticated electrical and electronic devices which power modern signal systems.

They are often called on to make emergency repairs and restore safe operations. The calls come in at at all hours of the day and night and in all kinds of weather. Railroads operate 24/7.

Atkins, signalling engineer

Signals and communications workers learn their craft through on-the-job experience and formal apprentice training programs. They are schooled in the strict federal regulations which govern railroad signals and railroad operations, electricity, electronics, and mechanics. After serving an apprenticeship, employees attain maintainer status. Many employees also receive training in computer technology and the increasingly sophisticated electronic circuitry used in today’s signal systems.

On the communications side, our technicians are a diverse group. They aid the signal maintainers with such equipment as hot box detectors, crossing warning systems, automatic equipment identifiers, radio towers, fibre optics, two-way radio equipment installation and in many other areas.

Our technicians, much like our maintainers, are required to be on 24-hour call and work alone, in most cases, to maintain electronic safety and other critical devices.

Our Union

IBEW Signals and Communications System Council No. 11 is structured like many other unions, with local unions of members who work for a particular railroad, or in the case of large railroads, on a particular division of the railroad. Local unions elect officers and representatives, establish bylaws and meet regularly to consider grievances, welcome new members and other local business.

Local union members elect delegates to represent them at the union’s convention. Delegates set union policy, review the general condition of the union, and establish collective bargaining goals. Delegates also elect the General Chairmen who lead the union.

 Jason Sommer is the Senior General Chairman and Secretary-Treasurer of IBEW System Council No, 11. He was elected at the 2022 convention. Gurpal Badesha serves as a General Chairman.

With your support and participation this union will continue to win the best wage and benefit package possible and continue to protect your rights on the job.



  • Wages
  • Benefits
  • International Pension
  • Life Insurance
  • Death benefits
  • RRSP
  • Safety
  • Workers Rights
  • Overtime Pay
  • Travel Allowance
  • Living out Allowance
  • Job Security
  • Job Dignity
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Training
  • Bursary Program

Bargaining Strength

Together, we have more say in our working lives. With a union there is strength in numbers. With our union we have a powerful voice that cannot be easily dismissed.