Government of Canada extends rules on rail carriage of grain

The Government of Canada announced the formal postponement for one year the repeal of certain provisions of the Canada Transportation Act that were enacted in 2014 by the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. The postponement was made possible following approval of the House of Commons and the Senate.

According to the Government, postponing the repeal of the provisions until August 2017 will allow the various participants in the freight rail supply chain to plan for the upcoming year under predictable conditions, while the Government of Canada has the opportunity to fully assess the recommendations presented in the report from the Canada Transportation Act Review Panel.

The provisions being extended provide the authority to:

• prescribe different distances, by region or by goods, when making regulations on interswitching;

• make regulations specifying what constitutes “operational terms” that can be referred to in level-of-service arbitration;

• order a railway company to pay compensation to a shipper or any person for any expenses they incurred as a result of the railway company’s failure to comply with its level-of-service obligations; and

• prescribe a minimum amount of grain to be moved by Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway during any period within a crop year, and authorize designated persons to impose administrative monetary penalties for failing to meet these requirements.

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