Alberta Barley provides feedback to Minister of Transport regarding The Future of Transportation in Canada
(Calgary, Alberta) September 21, 2016 – Alberta Barley, on behalf of the province’s 11,000 barley producers, has submitted feedback and recommendations to The Honourable Marc Garneau, federal Minister of Transport, regarding the Canadian Transportation Act (CTA), Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) and the upcoming Future of Transportation in Canada discussions.
“We are grateful for the federal government’s commitment to improve the transportation of grain by rail,” said Mike Ammeter, Alberta Barley chair. “Bill C-30 brought about much needed temporary relief for Western Canada’s grain, oilseed and pulse farmers, but we need permanent solutions that are market driven.
“We are hopeful that the discussions around The Future of Transportation in Canada will lead to meaningful, long-term change. As farmers and others continue to invest in plant breeding and improved agronomic practices, the resulting increase in production needs to have an assured path to market.”
Transportation is a critical issue for Canadian grain producers. The domestic market is not large enough to consume the majority of Canada’s agricultural production; we must export. Farmers and domestic agri-food industries rely on Canada’s rail system to get their products to market in order to remain competitive and capitalize on growing opportunities in established and new export markets, many of which are supported by Canada’s current trade agenda.
In February 2016, the Ministry of Transport tabled the CTA Review Report. Many western Canadian farmers indicated that the report failed to provide viable, long-term solutions that would improve Canada’s grain transportation system.
“Alberta’s producers need a permanent regulatory rail environment that will be market driven as well as improve rail capacity for shippers and ensure balanced accountability for service,” Ammeter said.
Alberta Barley has put forward three recommendations, which the commission believes could permanently improve rail service for western Canadian grain growers. These include balanced accountability along the grain logistic chain, enhancing the level of service provisions to tighten the definition of ‘adequate and suitable accommodation’ and retention of competitive provisions, such as 160-km interswitching and Maximum Revenue Entitlement.
“Agriculture accounts for close to seven per cent of Canada’s GDP,” Ammeter said. “Without an improvement in rail service and an increase in capacity, grain farmers will lose our competitive edge in global markets.”
Alberta Barley will continue to work with the federal government and represent Western Canada’s barley producers to ensure rail transportations meets their needs.