Extending Rail Provisions Maintains An Important Tool

Winnipeg, Manitoba – June 17, 2016   Canola farmers are pleased that the Government of Canada has approved a one-year extension of Canada Transportation Act provisions that were enacted in 2014 by Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. The announcement of the extension was made by the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, shortly after being approved by the House of Commons and the Senate.

“For many months, canola farmers have been talking about the importance of these provisions and asking for them to be extended,” says Brett Halstead, President of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). “We are pleased that the provisions will be maintained while the industry continues to work with government on building a long-term plan for efficiently shipping our production by rail.”

Of particular importance is the maintenance of the extended interswitching limits of 160 kilometers. Interswitching is a tool that allows the shipper to effectively choose their rail carrier despite having physical access to one. This provides an element of competition between major railways, and has emerged as an effective tool in establishing more competitive rates and service levels.

“With 90% of Canadian canola exported internationally, there’s no question that growers rely on rail transportation to get their grain to market,” says Halstead. “Extending these provisions means farmers will continue to have competitive options, and we thank the government for listening to farmers’ concerns.”

In addition to supporting service levels, the extension provides more time to fully assess the recommendations presented in the report from the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel. A more long-term or permanent solution is expected to be tabled for consideration by the Government prior to August 1, 2017.

“While today’s announcement is just a small piece in the larger picture ofCanada Transportation Act Review Panel recommendations, we look forward to studying these issues and working with government in the year ahead,” says Steve Pratte, Policy Manager at CCGA. “We want to ensure that the farmer voice continues to be present during decision-making, with the goal being to rebalance the shipper-railway relationship on a long-term basis.”

CCGA represents more than 43,000 canola farmers on national and international issues, policies and programs that impact farm profitability.

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Kelly Green, Director, Communications
t: 204.789.8821
e: kellyg@ccga.ca