Joint Use of Rail Infrastructure

Res #: 41-01M
Number: 41
Year: 2001
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Transport Canada

Resolution 41-01M

WHEREAS, there is virtually no competition between the major rail companies in Western Canada in regard to the movement of grain; and

WHEREAS, competition generally promotes efficiencies which in this case could save farmers a significant amount of money at a time when they are in an economic crisis; and

WHEREAS, the Canadian Transportation Agency recently ruled that current legislation does not give them the authority to demand that the major railways permit others to use their infrastructure;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM continue to lobby the Federal Minister of Transport to amend the Canadian Transportation Act in such a manner as to permit the joint use of rail infrastructure.

Response From Transport Canada:

Transport Canada appreciates being informed of SARM's views concerning the Canada Transportation Act (CTA). As you are no doubt aware, on June 29, 2000, Minister Collenette appointed a panel to conduct a statutory review of the CTA. In the panel's terms of reference was the requirement to "consider proposals for enhancing competition in the railway sector, including enhanced running rights, regional railways, and other access concepts." The panel's report was released on July 18, 2001.

In its report, the panel recommended that any competent railway operator be allowed to apply for running rights, including the right to solicit traffic. This and the panel's many other recommendations are currently under consideration. The work of the panel will be one of the key building blocks in the development of the Transportation Blueprint, a project the Minister launched last year to renew the transportation agenda of the Government of Canada. The project will also build on consultations with stakeholders, the work of the Transportation Table on Climate Change, and the outcomes of the Millennium Transportation Conference, sponsored by the Minister in June 2000.

The Minister intends to bring forward the Transportation Blueprint in the spring of 2002, which will address the broad directions that the federal government will pursue in transportation over the next decade and beyond as well as specific proposals of the CTA Review Panel. Consultations will follow before the tabling of related legislative amendments to the CTA in the fall. I trust the foregoing information will be of assistance.