Press Releases

AWC calls for quick action from the Federal Government in legislating improvements to rail service, encourages interim accountability measures to remain in place for now

Corrected Version (Calgary, Alberta) May 8, 2017 - The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) encourages the Federal Government to act quickly in honouring Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s November 2016 commitment to pass legislation that will offer long-term solutions to Canada’s grain transportation issues which have plagued the industry for decades. But with legislation not expected to pass until the fall, AWC is also calling for interim measures under the fair rail for grain farmers act (Bill C-30) to be extended beyond the current August 1st, 2017 expiration date to ensure the railways offer the level of service required to ship this year’s harvest.

“We appreciate the government’s commitment to introduce legislation that will ensure a more responsive, competitive and accountable rail system in Canada,” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chair. “But the current railway accountability measures must stay place in the meantime. This will ensure we avoid a repeat of the transportation backlog that caused farmers billions of dollars in lost revenue during the fall and winter of 2013.”

Announced by federal transport minister Marc Garneau in November 2016, the forthcoming legislation promises to introduce reciprocal penalties and other measures to improve railway accountability. During a recent meeting with representatives from Transport Canada, AWC learned that the legislation would be unlikely to pass before the House rises this June.

Current interim solutions under Bill C-30 include extended interswitching distances and minimum volume requirements for grain movement. In the absence of any long-term legislation, these provisions are the only measures the agriculture industry has to ensure that the service required to ship next fall’s harvest is in place.

“It’s 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 Minister Garneau for his commitment to this important file and looks forward to supporting comprehensive and meaningful legislation once it is introduced,” said Auch.

AWC also addressed the need for quick action with the forthcoming legislation and called for an extension of interim measures under Bill C-30 in a letter to Minister Garneau. The letter can be found here. More information about AWC’s response to the legislation announced by Minister Garneau can be found here and information about the provisions under Bill C-30 can be found here.

Correction notice: we originally stated that the legislation is not expected to be introduced until the fall. This corrected version now states that the legislation is not expected to pass until fall. We also stated that the provisions of Bill C-30 expire on August 31st 2017. The correct expiration date is August 1st 2017.  30th

Media Contact:
Victoria Russell
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat Commission