Harper Government acts to get grain moving in Western Canada
Immediate measures require railways to deliver specific quantities of grain per week and to regularly report on volume carried
OTTAWA, March 7, 2014 /CNW/ - Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today concrete measures being taken by the Harper Government to move more grain through the transportation system and maintain Canada's reputation as a supplier to world markets.
Minister Raitt announced an Order in Council (OIC) to take immediate effect, setting 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.
The railways will be required to increase the volumes carried each week, over a period of four weeks, to a combined target of 1,000,000 metric tonnes per week - more than doubling the volume currently being moved.
The Order creates direct legal obligations on railways and will result in penalties for non-compliance of up to $100,000 per day.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that the Government will introduce legislation when Parliament returns to establish measures to ensure Canada maintains a world-class logistics system that gets agricultural products to market more efficiently.
The Government continues to call on all parties in the grain supply chain to play constructive roles to ensure the timely movement of grain, and to continue working together on medium and long-term solutions.
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. 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.
Today's action builds on previous steps the Government has taken to improve the performance of the entire rail supply chain in order to help farmers get their crops to market, which include:
- pursuing enhancements to the Grain Monitoring Program to improve the frequency of reporting and to expand the performance data collected;
- investing $1.5 million, matched by industry, in a Pulse Canada-led multi-sector collaboration project of the pulse, oilseeds and grains industries to improve supply chain efficiency and reliability;
- investing over $73.6 million in innovation through grain research groups; and,
- implementing marketing freedom for western Canadian wheat and barley growers.
"For the past several months, the bumper crop of grain produced in Canada has not been moving fast enough to Canadian ports. This issue affects more than just our farmers - it affects trade and Canada's ability to supply our markets around the world. We are taking this action to more than double grain shipments in order to preserve the integrity of Canada's transportation system and our reputation as a global supplier."
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport
"The current grain logistics system is not meeting demand and today our Government is taking concrete action to ensure the livelihoods of farmers and our overall economy. By making the Order in Council and working to introduce legislation, our Government continues to act in the best interests of our farmers while ensuring Canada maintains our global reputation as a reliable grain shipper."
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz
SOURCE Transport CanadaFor further information:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport,
Director of Communications
Office of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz
Transport Canada, Ottawa
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)