On Thursday, representatives from Canada's agriculture industry gathered at Richard Pioneer South Lakes elevator just north of Winnipeg to celebrate the passage of the Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49).

The Bill, which was given Royal Assent on Wednesday, is a long-term solution that works to give Canadian grain farmers a strong, reliable and efficient transportation system so they can get their products to market safely and in a timely manner.

“Our government fully understands the importance of Canada’s grain farmers to the growth of our economy, our rural communities and the middle class," said Federal Ag Minister Lawrence MacAulay. "With the passage of the historic Transportation Modernization Act, we are providing a strong and long-term solution for Canada’s farmers to reliably get their products to market, helping to put more money in their pockets and meet the growing demand for Canada’s top quality grain. I thank our grain industry leaders for all their hard work – this is a milestone achievement for the long-term growth and success of the sector.”

The Transportation Modernization Act was built from extensive consultations with stakeholders, including many representatives of the agricultural sector. It includes a number of new tools and benefits for the grain industry, such as establishing reciprocal penalties between railway companies and their customers, and clarifying the definition of “adequate and suitable” service.

“The passing of this bill has been decades in the making, and it demonstrates that the Government of Canada has placed a priority on agriculture, one of the largest industries in western Canada,” said Dan Mazier, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers. “This will help prevent railway delays in shipping crops to port – delays that cause serious loss of profits for farmers and major losses to the Canadian economy, as well as a loss of confidence in overseas buyers...It is estimated that the rail crisis in 2013-2014 resulted in $6.5 billion of lost revenue for farmers, and the passage of Bill C-49 will help to avoid this kind of situation going forward.”

Bill C-49 will also:

- Permit the Canadian Transportation Agency to initiate investigations into issues facing the supply chain with the approval of the Minister of Transport;
- Add soybeans as an eligible crop under the Maximum Revenue Entitlement; and,
- Allow shippers to use the new Long-Haul Interswitching remedy, even if they are served by more than one railway or are within 30 km of an interchange, if the railway or interchange is not in the reasonable direction of their movement.

“The amendments to the Canada Transportation Act contained in Bill C-49 are designed to allow shippers to capture more value in existing and new markets," commented Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. "By giving shippers more competitive options, and allowing them the ability to instate financial consequences for poor rail service, we believe global customers will look more and more to Canada for consistent, reliable and quality grain products.”

CN Rail also announced Thursday that it would be investing in 1,000 new generation grain hopper cars to renew the fleet and meet the long-term needs of farmers.


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