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C-49 amendments chart path to a balanced grain transportation system

Minister Garneau’s acceptance of key amendments crucial to a strong future for grain

OTTAWA (April 30, 2018) – Grain farmers across Canada are praising the decision by Transport Minister Marc Garneau to accept the grain industries’ recommendation and amendment of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act. Announced Friday, April 27th, the decision demonstrates that the Minister and the Government were listening to farmers in their calls for a balanced and accountable rail transport system.

“Grain farmers have long called for strong legislation that will help rebalance the relationship between shippers and railways,” said Grain Growers of Canada President, Jeff Nielsen. “The entire grain industry has been united in our call for the Government to make targeted amendments to Bill C-49. It is crucial that all MPs and Senators of all parties work together to pass the amended Bill as soon as possible.”

This past grain transport year has seen a crisis across the prairies as both major railways failed to meet demand, spotting cars below 50% of demand for weeks on end. Across the Prairies farmers were left unable to deliver grain and if a farmer can’t deliver grain they can’t get paid. This resulted in farmers having to take extraordinary steps to make ends meet, all because of unacceptably poor rail service. The industry is still playing catch up and improvement in service only came after the intervention of Ministers Garneau and Lawrence MacAulay.

Amendments supported by the grain industry, the Senate and now Minister Garneau include changes to long-haul interswitching to make it available for more shippers, the inclusion of soybeans and related products in the Maximum Revenue Entitlement (MRE), and to give the Canada Transportation Agency the ability to launch an investigation prior to a formal complaint being lodged. These amendments have received broad, all party support in the House and Senate.

“We need the legislation in place well in advance of August 1, 2018 to ensure hard working middle class farmers don’t have to suffer through another grain shipping season with terrible rail service,” continued Mr. Nielsen. “Accepting these amendments demonstrates that Ministers MacAulay and Garneau are working for the growth of the rural economy. Bill C-49 is key to the long term success of my industry and key to reaching the goal of $75 billion in agri-food exports by 2025. We urge parliament to pass it now.”

Representatives from the grain shipping industry will host a media availability at 3:30 pm EST on Tuesday, May 1 to discuss the importance of the amendments and the need to #passc49 as soon as possible. Further details will be provided and time is subject to change.

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through it’s 13 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman
Manager, Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726
(e): lehman@ggc-pgc.ca [1]

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