Canada’s grain farmers call on Senate to pass Bill C-49

Press release - Grain Growers of Canada
December 15, 2017
By Press release - Grain Growers of Canada
Canada’s grain farmers call on Senate to pass Bill C-49
Jennifer Paige
Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is calling on the Senate of Canada to pass Bill C-49, The Transportation Modernization Act as quickly as possible. This Bill will give grain farmers and shippers important tools that will create a more accountable, fair and efficient rail transportation system. Growers are concerned that without these powers in place, there will be increasing delays and costs in getting grain to market.

“International customers are always looking to Canada for our top-quality grains and oilseed products, but over the years our reputation as a reliable supplier has been put into question, in large part due to our rail logistics system,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC president. “We are anxious to have the C-49 measures in place as they will not only give us some competitive options but will allow shippers to hold the railways accountable when they fail to meet their contractual service obligations.”

The grains sector in Western Canada is now into its most critical time as the value chain works together to move another very large crop. “We are already experiencing signs of deteriorating service,” continued Nielsen. “With car order fulfilments decreasing, growers are becoming increasingly concerned we will find ourselves in another devastating grain backlog like we experienced in 2013-14.”

To rebalance the relationship temporary measures were put in place to address the 2013-14 grain crisis, including extended interswitching distances up to 160km. Those provisions expired in August 2017 and shippers have been left with no meaningful tools to secure accountable, fair and efficient service from the railways. Bill C-49 contains legislative amendments that will give shippers permanent tools, including access to reciprocal penalties, long haul interswitching and improved data collection and transparency.

“The measures contained in C-49 have been a long time coming for the grain sector,” said Art Enns, GGC Vice-President. “We cannot afford another year without provisions in place that are critical to rebalancing commercial relationships and creating a more competitive and efficient rail environment. Grain farmers across Canada urge the Senate to do the right thing and pass Bill C-49 as quickly as possible.”

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