APAS Calls for Transportation Bill C-49 to be Passed
Legislation has been delayed since before Christmas; Producers left holding product
February 15, 2018 – For Immediate Release – APAS President Todd Lewis has asked the Senate to move quickly on passing Bill C-49, in order to amend the Transportation Act.
Addressing the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications Wednesday night, Lewis described the current difficulties that agricultural producers are facing in moving their product to market.
“Producers are heavily reliant on Canada’s railways,” Lewis said, noting that Saskatchewan grain sometimes has to travel a distance of 1900 km to reach a port.
“The rail freight system for grain does not operate as a competitive marketplace. Nearly all our local delivery points are serviced by a single rail carrier. Data shows that the railway serving corridors in the northern grain belt has been consistently unable to supply more than 70% of car orders in the current shipping season.”
Because Canada’s transportation system for grain begins at the farm-gate, when these service failures occur, it is agricultural producers who are left with increased costs.
Bill C-49 would improve the situation, as it would enhance producers’ ability to monitor the railways’ performance and offers the ability to penalize railways should they not meet those obligations.
“Bill C-49 is a step in the right direction and provides a solid foundation for future reforms. There is an urgent need for government regulation and policy to ensure our transportation system meets the current and future needs of our agricultural producers,” Lewis said.
Mr. Lewis also called for additional legislation to address producers’ shipping challenges in the long term, beyond what is included in Bill C-49.
Todd Lewis' full presentation to the Senate can be viewed here.
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Communications and Community Relations Coordinator
Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan
(306) 789-7774 ext. 6
Background: APAS is Saskatchewan’s general farm organization – formed to provide farmers and ranchers with a democratically elected, grassroots, non-partisan, producer-run organization based on rural municipal boundaries. As the united voice of thousands of agricultural producers and ranchers in Saskatchewan, we strive to represent the views of a wide variety of agricultural stakeholders in order to form comprehensive policies that can benefit all sectors of society. APAS is a member of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.