Press Releases

Alberta Wheat Commission pleased with the extension of minimum volume requirements for grain movement by rail

(Calgary, Alberta) – The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) is pleased with the announcement from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Transport Canada that the minimum volume requirements for the movement of grain by rail will be extended until March 28, 2015 under the Order-In-Council.

AWC has lobbied to keep the order in place until such time as rail companies can be held accountable for their performance through mechanisms such as the mandatory inclusion of reciprocal penalties in service level agreements. The extension will help avoid a repeat of the transportation backlog of last winter that cost prairie famers billions of dollars in lost profits and compromised Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier of grain.

"Ministers Raitt and Ritz have shown great support for our industry and we thank them for listening to the concerns of farmers," said Kent Erickson, Chair, Alberta Wheat Commission. "Extending the minimum volume requirements through the coming winter and spring season will keep the grain moving as we continue to work toward our goal of a sustainable and reliable transportation system."

AWC is also pleased that the railways will be required to submit formal winter contingency plans as well as efforts to improve railway movement by corridor and service to producer car loading sites and shortline railways.

AWC acknowledges that the minimum volume requirements are not a long-term solution and will continue to press for reforms to Canada’s grain transportation system through the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review.

"We will continue to voice our opinion on what we believe is the most critical mechanism to ensure that railways are held accountable for their performance through the inclusion of reciprocal penalties in Service Level Agreements," Erickson added.

The Alberta Wheat Commission is a producer-directed organization representing the interests of and serving as a single voice for all of Alberta’s 14,000 wheat producers.

Media Contact:

Victoria Russell
Communications and Events Coordinator
P. (403) 219-7906 C. (403) 813-6956