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Archived - Harper Government's new legislation in place to strengthen rail freight service

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No. H084/13
For release - June 26, 2013

OTTAWA – The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, announced today that the new Fair Rail Freight Service Act is now law.

The bill received Royal Assent earlier today.

“Our Government is proud to have taken concrete action to strengthen our economy by passing legislation that will improve the predictability, clarity and reliability of rail freight service across Canada,” said Minister Lebel. “We have delivered the promise we made after receiving recommendations from the Rail Freight Service Review’s Panel of experts.”

Rail companies in Canada will now be required to offer a service agreement to companies shipping goods by rail, if the shipper requests one.  In the event that rail companies and shippers cannot reach an agreement through commercial negotiations, shippers can use the new arbitration process created by this bill to establish the terms of service to which they are entitled.

The goal of the legislation is to encourage railways and shippers to work together. Through enhanced collaboration, shippers and railways can increase the efficiency of the supply chain. The Act will help strengthen the Canadian economy by creating jobs and make Canada more competitive in international trade.

This new arbitration process will operate under the Canadian Transportation Agency. For each violation of an arbitrated service agreement, a penalty of up to $100,000 could be issued against the rail company by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

This new legislation follows the Government of Canada’s tabling of the Fair Rail Freight Service Act last December.  It fulfills a key commitment, announced in 2011, as part of the Government’s response to the Rail Freight Service Review’s Final Report.

Further details about the Fair Rail Freight Service Act can be found at:

An online version of the Fair Rail Freight Service Act can be found at:

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Marie-Josée Paquette
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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