SARM Applauds the Introduction of the Fair Rail Freight Service Act

SARM Applauds the Introduction of the Fair Rail Freight Service Act

On December 11th the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food announced the introduction of Bill C-52, the Fair Rail Freight Services Act.

The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) applauds the federal government for recognizing the need for legislation to ensure improvements to the quality of rail service and the rights of shippers are recognized.

“We thank the government for this legislation and we now urge them to pass it as soon as possible in order to minimize negative impacts for shippers. An effective rail transportation system is critical to the competitiveness of our agriculture sector and other rural based industries,” said SARM President David Marit.

SARM was an active participant in the Rail Level of Service Review and called for legislation to ensure rail service improvements occurred. This legislation gives shippers the right to negotiate a service agreement with the railways and dictates an arbitration process and resulting penalties if the prescribed level of service is not met.

“The lack of natural competition in Canada’s rail system is the reason why SARM felt that the regulation relating to level of service was so important,” says Marit.

SARM is concerned that the Bill suggests shippers and railways share equally in the costs associated with arbitration. “Smaller shippers might have difficulty paying these costs,” says Marit. SARM will continue to monitor this Bill throughout the legislative process and will be requesting an opportunity to provide additional formal input on behalf of rural municipalities.

For more information contact:

David Marit            Dale Harvey
President              Executive Director
(306) 476-7754     (306) 535-7343

“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”