Winnipeg, Manitoba -- Canola farmers welcomed the news that Bill C-30 the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, has received Royal Assent. The bill was introduced into the House of Commons on March 27, and received Royal Assent yesterday.
“We appreciate the commitment of all parties in getting this bill passed,” says Brett Halstead, President of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA). “It speaks to their ongoing commitment to address service problems with Canada’s rail transportation system and moves us closer to solving the complex grain logistics challenges that we face.”
The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act includes important amendments to the Canada Transportation Act. It gives the Canada Transportation Agency authority to regulate prescribed elements of Service Level Agreements, assess monetary penalties if necessary and extends interswitching distances across the Prairies. It also allows for extension of the minimum mandated volume provisions of the March Order in Council and provides a mechanism for the Agency to have railways compensate shippers for expenses resulting from railway service obligation failures.
Other elements include changes to the Canada Grain Act that give the Canadian Grain Commission regulation and arbitration authorities over grain contracting.
“This action demonstrates that Government is listening to farmers’ concerns,” says Halstead. “We look forward to working with the Government and other industry stakeholders as the regulations are developed.” Bill C-30 also builds on other initiatives such as the previously announced data collection initiative that will allow for better monitoring of supply and demand.
“While we applaud the work contained in C-30, the provisions do have a sunset clause of August 1, 2016,” says Rick White, CEO of CCGA. “Starting the Trasportation Act review in 2015 is essential to finding long-term solutions that deliver more predictable, timely and efficient rail service.”
CCGA represents more than 43,000 canola farmers on national and international issues, policies and programs that impact farm profitability.