OTTAWA - Transport Minister Lisa Raitt is announcing new changes to strengthen liability, compensation and insurance standards for federally regulated railways.

The changes are part of the federal government's response to last year's deadly rail tragedy in the Quebec community of Lac-Megantic.

New legislation introduced today would establish minimum insurance levels for freight operators based on the type of goods being shipped.

The bill would ensure that a rail company is liable for any losses, damages, costs and expenses resulting from a rail accident involving crude oil or other goods, up to the company's minimum coverage.

It also establishes a new compensation fund, to be financed with levies paid by shipping companies, to cover losses and damages from such incidents that exceed the company's minimum liability coverage.

A crude-laden freight train derailed in the heart of Lac-Megantic in July 2013, killing 47 people and incinerating the downtown core.