Albertaâ€™s crop commissions say theyâ€™re pleasedÂ to learn that the federal government has signaled its intension to extend measures within the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act that have helped improve railway accountability and competition. The postponement of the Aug. 1, 2016 repeal of these measures aligns with recommendations made by Team Alberta during its outreach mission to Ottawa last week, they note.
The year-long extension of provisions within the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) includes maintaining current interswitching limits of 160kms which has promoted railway competition and flexibility for shippers. Additionally, the Government of Canada will retain its ability to prescribe minimum grain movement by rail, an important mechanism of railway accountability.
â€œThis welcomed news from the Federal Government demonstrates that Transportation Minister Garneau and Agriculture Minister MacAulay have listened to the concerns of western Canadaâ€™s grain producers and understand the importance of a reliable and predictable transportation system to move our commodities into the marketplace,â€ said Kevin Auch, Alberta Wheat Commission Chairman.
â€œWhile the Minister of Transport considers the recommendations presented in the CTA review report, we will continue to advocate for measures that promote long-term railway accountability and adequate rail service,â€ added Mike Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Barley.
The federal governmentâ€™s news closely follows the Team Alberta Outreach Mission, a week on Parliament Hill where representatives from the crop commissions including Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Barley, Alberta Canola Producers and Alberta Pulse Growers, along with our colleagues at Grain Growers of Canada, met with top decision makers from Canadaâ€™s major political parties to discuss priorities for Alberta grain producers. Long-term transportation provisions and the extension of Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, were top priorities during the meetings.
â€œWe made it a priority to develop relationships with key federal policy makers during the Team Alberta outreach mission. In doing so, we encouraged decision makers to take steps forward to foster long-term improvements to the reliability and predictability of our grain and oilseed transportation system,â€ said Terry Young, Alberta Canola Producers Commission director.
â€œThe movement of our crops continues to be a priority for farmers,â€ said Allison Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Pulse Growers. â€œThe global demand for our products and our export capabilities rely on farmers and shippers getting product to port. Rail use is a huge part of the chain. The signaled intent from government to keep these tools available for farmers and shippers is very positive.â€