Major Market Initiatives

Re: Provisions under Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
Office of the Minister
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5 

May 3rd, 2017

Re: Provisions under Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act

Dear Minister Garneau,

The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) appreciates your commitment to introduce legislation that will ensure a more responsive, competitive and accountable rail system in Canada. The announcement you made in Montreal, Quebec on November 2nd, 2016, left Canada’s agriculture sector feeling optimistic that the forthcoming legislation would offer a long-term solution to the rail transportation crisis which has plagued this country for decades.

As a member of Team Alberta (the Alberta Barley, Canola, Pulse and Wheat Commissions), AWC had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Transport Canada including Deputy Minister, Michael Keenan in Ottawa on April 6th, 2017.  The purpose of our meeting was to inquire about the status of the legislation needed to support your vision for rail transportation in Canada.  As part of that discussion there was consensus that the legislation would be unlikely to pass before the House rises this June.  With that, we expressed the need to develop an interim solution that would see the provisions outlined under Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act extended beyond the current August 1st, 2017 expiration date. 

In the absence of any long-term legislation, these provisions are the only measures we have to ensure that the service required to ship next fall’s harvest is in place. These include extended interswitching distances and minimum volume requirements for grain movement. 

Given that the House is scheduled to rise next month, we are writing to not only urge the government to introduce this legislation as soon as possible but to inquire about your Ministry’s intentions to ensure that interim measures are in place to extend the current provisions.  It is critical that farmers can rely on Canada’s rail system to bring next year’s harvest to buyers here in Canada and around the world.

AWC thanks you for your commitment to this important file and looks forward to supporting comprehensive and meaningful legislation once it is introduced. In the interim we invite you to contact Erin K. Gowriluk, Manager, Government Relations and Policy at 403.219.7901 or via email at egowriluk@albertawheat.com should you have any questions about our submission.

Sincerely,

Kevin Auch
Chair, Alberta Wheat Commission

 

CC:           Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

                  Honourable Judy Sgro, Chair, Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

                  Luc Berthold, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities

                  Robert Aubin, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities