Press Releases

AWC says passage of Bill C-49 paves the way for more reliable and accountable rail transportation system

(Calgary, Alberta) November 2, 2017 –The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) is pleased to see that the Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49) has passed third reading in the House of Commons. The legislation marks a milestone for the agriculture industry, paving the way for mechanisms that will result in a more efficient and accountable rail transportation system that meets the needs of Canada’s growing grains sector.

Passage of the bill demonstrates Ministers Garneau and MacAulay’s commitment to addressing longstanding transportation issues affecting the agriculture sector. It also comes at a time when transportation delays are beginning to affect movement of the 2017 crop – particularly in areas served by CN Rail.

“It’s clear that the federal government has listened to our industry,” said Kevin Auch, AWC Chair. “With Canada’s agriculture sector working to increase its export capacity, AWC has pressed hard to ensure a more efficient and accountable transportation system,” says Kevin Auch, AWC Chair.

As Bill C-49 moves to the Senate for review, AWC strongly urges the legislation be treated as a priority. With troubling signs of delays in spotting of railcars and fulfillment of delivery contracts in many areas, it is critical that mechanisms within Bill C-49 are in place to ensure that this year’s crop is able to move to Canada’s export markets without delay.

“AWC encourages the Senate to consult with stakeholders and pass the legislation as quick as possible,” says Auch. “While we didn’t get some key amendments we had asked for, including improvements to long haul interswitching, the legislation is still a major step forward for farmers.”

Bill C-49 provides for reciprocal penalties, a mechanism AWC pressed hard for to correct the imbalance between the market power of railways and shippers and ensure that the cost of system failures are not passed down the supply chain to farmers.

Media contact:
Victoria Russell
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat Commission