Alberta Wheat Commission applauds federal government for strategic plan on transportation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Calgary, Alberta) November 3, 2016 - The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) applauds the federal government on today’s historic announcement of the Transportation 2030 strategic plan by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, which includes the introduction of reciprocal penalties and other measures to improve railway accountability.
“We are extremely pleased to see the government state its intention to introduce legislation that will facilitate reciprocal penalties in Service Level Agreements (SLAs),” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chair. “Shippers need the ability to negotiate penalties and contract terms equal to those being charged by the railways in order to create a more competitive marketplace.”
The need for reciprocal penalties has been a longstanding policy of AWC and a focal point of the commission’s submission to the Canada Transportation Act Review.
The minister has also indicated that the Canada Transportation Agency (CTA) will have improved access and expanded authority and that there will be a clear definition of what adequate and suitable service means, something AWC believes is imperative to improving Canada’s transportation system.
“It is important that the CTA has the authority to ensure the transportation system can meet the needs of Canadian farmers and move their grain in a predictable and efficient manger and ultimately advance Canada’s economic growth in agriculture,” added Auch. “Also having a more demand based definition of adequate and suitable service better meets the needs of customers.”
Throughout the consultation process farm groups were united in their concerns about railway power. AWC provided recommendations as part of a submission to the CTA review, which included SLAs that involved reciprocal penalties, permanent measures to be put in place for interswitching limits and has since advocated for a clear definition of adequate and suitable service. AWC continued to press for these recommendations at recent transportation consultations.
“It is great to see that both the provincial and federal governments were listening to the recommendations that were put forward by AWC and farm groups across Canada and that we will see permanent changes in place for improvements,” explained Auch. “We congratulate Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for his role in the development of this strategy.”
AWC is happy to see that the federal government is taking the appropriate steps to allow for a more accountability and competition as a long-term solution to improving Canada’s grain transportation system and promote economic growth. We encourage the government to move quickly on making these strategic priorities legislation as winter approaches and farmers will be looking to market and move their grain.
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