News Release Article from  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Harper Government Welcomes Passage of Rail Logistics Legislation

May 30, 2014 – Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Transport Canada

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz welcomed the Royal Assent of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) at an event held today to mark the coming into force of legislation that identifies clear and achievable measures to get Canada's agricultural products, and other commodities, to market in a predictable and timely way.

Specifically, the Act:

  • Requires rail companies to move 1 million tonnes of grain every week through to August 3, 2014, extending the volume requirements under the Order in Council that was announced on March 7.
  • Gives shippers in the three Prairie provinces more rail options by extending interswitching rights through regulations to 160 kilometres for all commodities.
  • Strengthens accountability between shippers and the railways and strengthens farmers' contracts with grain companies.
  • Allows shippers to be directly compensated for any expenses they incur as a result of the railways' failure to meet their level of service obligations under the Canada Transportation Act.

The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act will bring stability to the sector while discussions with stakeholders continue on building a transportation system that has greater capacity, predictability and accountability for the industry.

The Government is also accelerating the review of the Canada Transportation Act, to begin this summer. Furthermore, the railways will be required to provide more detailed information on grain movements, to allow for better oversight and monitoring.

Quick facts

  • The Act, introduced in Parliament on March 26, includes amendments to the Canada Transportation Act and the Canada Grain Act, and implements additional measures to help Canadian grain get to market quickly and efficiently, while maintaining a world-class system for transporting goods by rail.
  • This legislation extends the volume requirements, originally introduced by Order in Council (OIC), to August 3, 2014, and establishes the authority to set further volume requirements, as needed, beyond that point. The OIC imposed minimum volumes of grain that Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company are required to move each week.
  • At 76 million tonnes, this year's Western Canadian crop is 50% higher than the 10-year average. This volume is putting significant pressure on Western Canada's grain handling and transportation system. As the Government continues to work with farmers to invest in research and innovation, higher yields will continue to be the new reality across Canada.

Quotes

"Our Government is proud to deliver concrete measures to improve our logistics system for Canadian farmers and shippers of all commodities. We will continue to work with our resource industries to drive transformative change and lay down the conditions required to unlock their full economic potential."

- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

"Our Government is implementing clear and achievable solutions to move Canada's grain in a predictable and timely way. Farmers and our economy need a reliable supply chain system that works today and tomorrow, with the capacity to move what is grown in our fields."

- Transport Minister Lisa Raitt

Additional links

Contacts

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

Jeff English
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059


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