Canadian government planning legislation to ensure Canada maintains world-class logistics system in light of grain backlog; Western Canada's crop is 50% higher than average, putting pressure on region's grain handling, transportation
March 13, 2014
– The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, addressed the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities today on the Government of Canada’s commitment to get grain moving quickly.
Minister Raitt said the government is ensuring the efficient export of grain by specifying the minimum volumes to be carried by each railway and by planning additional legislation to ensure Canada maintains a world-class logistics system when Parliament returns the week of March 24.
The Order in Council (OIC), which took effect Friday, March 7, sets out minimum volumes of grain that Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company are each required to move. The Order, under section 47(1) of the Canada Transportation Act, also requires the railways to report to the Minister of Transport on weekly shipments.
Minister Raitt also detailed measures taken by the government to enhance rail safety in the wake of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy. Transport Canada has moved to protect public safety, including issuing an emergency directive on railway operations and protective directions on the classification of crude oil and the sharing of dangerous goods information with municipalities and first responders. The department continues to work with all stakeholders to enhance rail safety and the transportation of dangerous goods.
The department is also reviewing the rail liability and compensation regime and will be identifying options to ensure polluters have sufficient resources to adequately compensate potential victims, pay for any clean-up costs and protect taxpayers in the event of an incident.
Minister Raitt also discussed the New Building Canada Plan, which will see the Government of Canada invest over $53 billion in infrastructure across the country over the next 10 years. For Saskatchewan, this represents more than $1 billion, including $437 million under the New Building Canada Fund and $613 million under the federal Gas Tax Fund.
This year’s Western Canadian crop, at 76 million tonnes, is 50% higher than average. This volume is putting significant pressure on Western Canada’s grain handling and transportation system.
The Order in Council passed on Friday, March 7, 2014, requires railways to increase the weekly movement of grain over a period of four weeks, to a minimum target of 500,000 tonnes each in the fifth week. Penalties for non-compliance could be up to $100,000 per day. The order is in effect for 90 days and can be renewed.
“A safe, secure and strong rail-based supply chain system remains a priority for the Government of Canada. Canada’s transportation system is crucial to our government’s goals to create jobs, promote growth and support families and communities.”
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
Information about measures taken to address the transportation of grains and the safety and security measures related to transportation of goods can be found on the Transport Canada web page: tc.gc.ca