August 1st, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced details of the companion regulations to Bill C-30 the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act. “Canola farmers are encouraged by the efforts that the Minister and the Government have taken in these regulations to address service problems and build more accountability and efficiency into Canada’s rail transportation system,” says Brett Halstead, President of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA).
“Farmers have been asking for change and we thank the Minister for listening to our concerns and taking our issues forward,” says Halstead. He cites several important elements, including:
• The increased minimum mandated delivery levels that will continue through the fall will ensure that farmers’ grain continues to move from the country to the ports to help clear the backlog;
• The inclusion of a mandatory penalty provision to address non-receipt of grain in the delivery period could provide growers financial compensation when contracted delivery periods are not respected.
The changes, excluding those affecting the Canada Grains Act, provide a temporary bridge until long-term solutions can be established. However, several initiatives are already underway that will help pave a path forward.
In late June, the Minister of Transport launched a statutory review of the Canada Transportation Act one year ahead of its scheduled date. During the same week, the Commodity Supply Chain Table was established. In addition, the multi-commodity Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Agriculture Supply Chain Initiative will help gather agriculture supply chain data to determine how best to make meaningful changes in the agriculture supply chain.
“We look forward to working on these initiatives with the Government, other industry stakeholders and other rail shippers as we move closer to solving the complex logistical challenges that we face,” says Rick White, CEO. With a large carryout of 17 million tonnes and harvest only weeks away, even average yields could force another challenging year for farmers. “Moving into the winter months we need to keep monitoring rail movement to avoid a repeat of last year’s events.”
CCGA represents more than 43,000 canola farmers on national and international issues, policies and programs that impact farm profitability.
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