Farm and grain industry groups are optimistic new freight rail legislation proposed by the federal government will shift the balance of power in the market toward shippers. Some are even saying the bill introduced by Transport Minister Marc Garneau goes further than they expected.
If passed, Bill C-49 would give shippers the right to charge railways with penalties for poor service, increase the powers of the Canadian Transportation Agency, and clarify the definition of “adequate and suitable” service by railways — some of the longstanding requests made by grain industry stakeholders.
“It would be my hope to pass it sometime later this year,” says Garneau in the interview below, acknowledging it probably won’t be passed before MPs head home for summer.
Meanwhile, he plans to allow the temporary provisions for grain transportation by railways implemented in Bill C-30 during the backlog of 2013-14 to expire on August 1, leaving a gap before the new legislation will be in place.
Garneau joined us to discuss the rail legislation, pushback from railways, the expected timeline for moving Bill C-49 forward, and more: