CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association strongly supports the decision by the Canadian Canola Growers Association to file a formal level of service complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding the failure of CN and CP to meet their service obligations to farmers.
“We applaud the Canola Growers for taking this action on behalf of all prairie farmers,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “Given the performance of the railways this year, we’re glad to see the Canola Growers step up to the plate and hold them to account.”
The Wheat Growers are expecting a positive ruling from the Agency, given the railways’ poor grain shipping performance this year. Until recently, the pace of grain shipments this crop year was below the pace of the previous year, even though the 2013 crop was 34% larger than the 2012 crop.
“Our industry has tremendous potential to increase grain production, processing and exports in western Canada,” says Stephen Vandervalk, Alberta Vice President of the Wheat Growers. “It would be a great loss to prairie farmers and to the Canada economy if we are unable to capitalize on this potential due to constraints in our rail transportation system.”
A positive ruling from the Agency will establish that the railways have an obligation to increase capacity to meet grain shipping demand. A negative ruling would point to a need to strengthen transportation legislation to ensure the requirements of the grain sector are met.
“This will be an important test case,” says Wood. “It will help us determine whether the existing legislation is strong enough to meet the needs of farmers and our customers.”
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.