Winnipeg, MB -- Friday’s Rail Service Review announcement by Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), and Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, is a positive step forward in resolving chronic rail service problems faced by Canadian farmers.
“In some areas of the Prairies, oilseeds and grain movement has been near its worst, so we are pleased that the Government’s response to the Rail Service Review Panel’s report goes well beyond the Panel’s recommendations to act quickly,” says Rick White, General Manager of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA).
The CCGA was very critical over the lack of meaningful change forthcoming from the Rail Service Review Panel’s Interim Report. “We are optimistic that Friday’s announcement of a four-point plan is a step forward in the right direction, but it will take a continued commitment by stakeholders including the CCGA and other members of the Coalition of Rail Shippers to ensure this strategy is implemented in a way that creates positive impacts for shippers, farmers and Canadian agriculture,” says White.
“The government has taken some encouraging steps in addressing our needs, including an improved process for establishing service level agreements, a dispute resolution mechanism, a means to establish and measure shipping performance metrics, and the commencement of legislative drafting for shipper rights to service. This package, if implemented properly, will simulate a more balanced commercial relationship between shippers and the railways,” says White.
“We are optimistic about the Ministers’ announcement and the impact that the four-point plan can have on the competitiveness of Canadian farmers, and we encourage the Government to take action quickly to ensure all elements of its plan are implemented as swiftly as possible,” says White.
The Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) represents 50,000 canola farmers on national and international issues that impact farm profitability.
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Kelly Green, Director of Communications
Canadian Canola Growers Association