Wheat Growers View Passage of Rail Legislation as Positive First Step
CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is pleased to see the passage of Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.
While the legislation falls short of fully addressing the needs of prairie farmers, it has been successful in highlighting the serious lack of rail transportation capacity that afflicts our industry.
“This legislation doesn’t fix the rail system but it represents a good start in tackling the issue,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “It sends a strong signal to the railways that substandard performance will not be tolerated.”
It appears the railways are now meeting, or are close to meeting, the weekly shipping requirement established by the government Order on March 7 and now codified in law. CN and CP must now ship a minimum of 500,000 tonnes of grain per week until the week of August 4, at which time a decision will be made on whether the Order should be extended.
The legislation also extends interswitching provisions to 160 kilometers and provides for an arbitration process between farmers and grain companies in cases of contractual disputes.
“We thank Ministers Ritz and Raitt for recognizing the seriousness of the shortfall in shipping capacity and for taking action,” says Wood. “The focus must now be on long-term measures that will build the capacity needed to meet the long-term growth potential of our industry.”
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.