May 8, 2017

Grain Growers call for extension to grain rail provisions

May 8, 2017 (OTTAWA) – Grain Growers of Canada today called for the federal government to extend the provisions in the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act (Bill C-30) that mandate the timely transportation of grain. This is essential to ensure that they are available for the upcoming grain year and that progress does not expire with the sunset date of Aug 1, 2017.

“Grain farmers have seen the positive impact of the emergency measures put in place in 2014,” said Jeff Nielsen, GGC President and grain farmer from Olds, AB. “We urge Transportation Minister Garneau to extend the provisions, particularly those related to interswitching, until the Transportation 2030 legislation is enacted.”

Presented in November 2016, the proposed Transportation 2030 plan would be a comprehensive overhaul of the current transportation legislation. Among other things, it recognized the need for permanent extended interswitching as well as reciprocal penalties for shippers. The grain industry has long been calling for a level playing field between railways and shippers and done properly, the new legislation could do just that.

However, with planting now underway for the 2017 grain year, and the much-anticipated legislation yet to be tabled, it is imperative that prairie grain farmers and the entire value chain know they can rely on a consistent rail system to get their grain to port. About 90 per cent of Canadian grain is destined for the export market, the vast majority of which is shipped by rail. The recent Barton Report from the Advisory Council on Economic Growth as well as the 2017 Federal Budget called for a dramatic increase in agriculture and agri-food exports to harness agriculture’s potential as a key growth sector. This cannot be achieved unless the government puts a focus on getting our high quality grain to market quickly and reliably.

“The support for grain shipping shown by first the Conservative government and now the Liberals has been welcome,” continued Mr. Nielsen. “In the short term it is imperative that the C-30 provisions continue, while we focus on getting comprehensive, permanent rail legislation in place that will work for all parties.”

The Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its 12 provincial and regional 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.

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Media Contact:
Lindsey Ehman, Public Affairs Manager
Grain Growers of Canada
(o): 613-233-9954 ext. 202
(c): 613-222-2726

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