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Harper Government Welcomes Passage of Rail Logistics Legislation

FORT SASKATCHEWAN, ALBERTA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/30/14 -- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Transport Canada

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz welcomed the Royal Assent of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) at an event held today to mark the coming into force of legislation that identifies clear and achievable measures to get Canada's agricultural products, and other commodities, to market in a predictable and timely way.

Specifically, the Act:

--  Requires rail companies to move 1 million tonnes of grain every week
    through to August 3, 2014, extending the volume requirements under the
    Order in Council that was announced on March 7.
--  Gives shippers in the three Prairie provinces more rail options by
    extending interswitching rights through regulations to 160km for all
    commodities.
--  Strengthens accountability between shippers and the railways and
    strengthens farmers' contracts with grain companies.
--  Allows shippers to be directly compensated for any expenses they incur
    as a result of the railways' failure to meet their level of service
    obligations under the Canada Transportation Act.

The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act will bring stability to the sector while discussions with stakeholders continue on building a transportation system that has greater capacity, predictability and accountability for the industry.

The Government is also accelerating the review of the Canada Transportation Act, to begin this summer. Furthermore, the railways will be required to provide more detailed information on grain movements, to allow for better oversight and monitoring.

Quick Facts

--  The Act, introduced in Parliament on March 26, includes amendments to
    the Canada Transportation Act and the Canada Grain Act, and implements
    additional measures to help Canadian grain get to market quickly and
    efficiently, while maintaining a world-class system for transporting
    goods by rail.
--  This legislation extends the volume requirements, originally introduced
    by Order in Council (OIC), to August 3, 2014, and establishes the
    authority to set further volume requirements, as needed, beyond that
    point. The OIC imposed minimum volumes of grain that Canadian National
    Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company are required to
    move each week.
--  At 76 million tonnes, this year's Western Canadian crop is 50% higher
    than the 10-year average. This volume is putting significant pressure on
    Western Canada's grain handling and transportation system. As the
    Government continues to work with farmers to invest in research and
    innovation, higher yields will continue to be the new reality across
    Canada.

Quotes

"Our Government is proud to deliver concrete measures to improve our logistics system for Canadian farmers and shippers of all commodities. We will continue to work with our resource industries to drive transformative change and lay down the conditions required to unlock their full economic potential."

- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

"Our Government is implementing clear and achievable solutions to move Canada's grain in a predictable and timely way. Farmers and our economy need a reliable supply chain system that works today and tomorrow, with the capacity to move what is grown in our fields."

- Transport Minister Lisa Raitt

Additional Links

- Bill C-30 Passes Third Reading in the House of Commons

- Harper Government Introduces Legislation to Address Rail Capacity Challenges

- Harper Government acts to get grain moving in Western Canada

- Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act

Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

Contacts:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Jeff English
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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