Barley farmers applaud reciprocal penalties, continued investment in transportation
Nov. 3, 2016 (Calgary, AB): Alberta Barley is very pleased with the Liberal government’s Transportation 2030 strategic plan that will include the long-awaited provision of reciprocal penalties for railways in service level agreements. The proposed amendments to the Canada Transportation Act outlined by federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau would create balanced accountability for system failures between shippers and railway companies.
Today in Montréal, Garneau’s announcement is part of a broader $10.1 billion stimulus to the country’s transportation sector. This legislation will be introduced by Garneau during the House of Commons’ spring session in 2017.
“This is the news we’ve been waiting to hear from government after many years of work on grain transportation issues” said Mike Ammeter, Alberta Barley chair and Sylvan Lake-area farmer. “Reciprocal penalties and an updated definition of adequate and suitable service are welcome changes for western Canadian farmers. We are very happy to see that the concerns brought forward by farmers and other grain industry stakeholders have made an impact with the government, and we thank Minister Garneau and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay for their leadership on this file.”
In addition to reciprocal penalties and an improved definition of adequate and suitable service, the government said it will also improve access and timelines for Canadian Transportation Agency decisions and address the future of extended interswitching, currently set at 160 kilometres, along with the Maximum Revenue Entitlement.
“We’re expecting all aspects of the grain transportation value chain to be scrutinized and improved for the betterment of barley farmers here in Alberta,” added Ammeter. “Our livelihood depends on a functional rail transportation system, so seeing recognition of that by the transport minister has given us hope that rail service will improve moving forward.”
Alberta Barley prioritized making submissions and attending consultations—with provincial and federal agriculture and transportation ministries—and worked diligently on a submission in response to the CTA Review Report, also known as the Emerson Report. Our focus was on balanced accountability and on clarification of the definition of suitable and adequate service, and the positive outcomes that improvements to these areas would have for Alberta farmers. Both of these items were highlighted in the announcement in Montréal.
Alberta Barley is committed to continuing to work with the federal ministers of transport and agriculture to ensure legislation is introduced that will work for its members.
Over the last 30 years, the volume of goods transported by rail has doubled, but the infrastructure hasn’t kept up with demand, according to government.
For more information, please contact:
Alberta Barley Communications Manager