The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) commends Members of Parliament for unanimously passing a motion yesterday to prolong for one year the rail transport provisions enacted temporarily in 2014 under the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.
The provisions allow for enhanced planning and more competitive pricing options, along with better service in transporting grain to export markets. Among these measures are extended interswitching limits and strengthened regulations to ensure that railways meet service obligations. Together, these provisions will bring certainty as grain producers head into the 2016 crop year.
"Western Canadian grain farmers are most appreciative of the support from all parties and from members in both the House of Commons and the Senate for recognizing the urgency of rail transport concerns as we await long-term recommendations stemming from the recent Canada Transportation Act (CTA) Review," said Ron Bonnett, CFA President.
The provisions were set to expire August 1, 2016. However, as government has yet to respond to the CTA review (released this past February), CFA and its members have been asking to extend them, as the government has announced that a new round of consultations is underway.
Without this extension, farmers would have been at a greater disadvantage in a system that already lacks competitive options.
A massive backlog in the western grain transportation system in 2013-2014 resulted in major economic losses and farmers have been concerned about potential challenges for the coming year.