Source: Alberta Wheat Commission
The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) and Alberta Barley thank the Senate for passing Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act, with key amendments that will go a long way in holding the railways to account and ensuring grain farmers do not see a repeat of delayed shipments in future years. The Commissions urge the House of Commons to move quickly in passing the amended legislation as soon as possible so that passing the bill does not drag into the summer months.
The legislation includes competitive measures such as reciprocal penalties and long haul interswitching provisions, both of which the commissions pressed hard to see implemented for several years. The commissions look forward to reviewing the details on how the long haul interswitching provisions will work for shippers.
Prior to the legislation passing, grain farmers in several regions in Western Canada have seen significant delays this year with rail car fulfillments in the poorest weeks reaching critical levels experienced during the backlog of 2013-14.
“The passing of Bill C-49 in the Senate is a major step forward for Canadian grain farmers,” said Kevin Bender, AWC Chair. “The legislation likely won’t fix the current backlog that farmers have experienced in several areas this year, but we are extremely pleased to have mechanisms in place that will help avoid this issue in the future.”
“We appreciate the Federal Government’s commitment to alleviating farmers’ long-standing challenges related to delayed rail shipments,” said Jason Lenz, Alberta Barley Chair. “Farmers rely almost entirely on freight rail transportation to move our products to our international customers and this legislation ultimately strengthens Canada’s position as a major grain exporter.”
The commissions look forward to seeing a more efficient and competitive railway system in Canada to ensure farmers can most effectively supply our global customers with grain.