Balancing Provisions in the Transportation Modernization Act, Bill C-49

CIAC applauds the government’s efforts and is supportive of the rail freight measures outlined in Transportation 2030 for advancing a “long-term agenda for a more transparent, balanced and efficient rail system that reliably moves our goods to global markets.”  Regarding Bill C-49, CIAC believes the government has correctly identified the key areas requiring attention to address issues of transparency, fair access, efficiency and long-term investment and is supportive of the expedited approach being taken to address them.  However, there are several areas that would benefit from amendments to better align with the stated intent of the proposed measures.

In our detailed review of the legislation we have identified several key areas where we believe amendments are warranted to meet the stated intent of the measures.  The requested amendments are summarized here:

  • Data Transparency and Timeliness – Parallel the U.S. reporting requirements/timelines and expedite the availability of information accessible to shippers, ensuring it is also commodity specific.
  • Canadian Transportation Agency Powers and Informal Resolutions Processes – Increase the Agency’s power to investigate issues and ensure informal resolutions are implemented, effective and that policy makers and stakeholders are able to see broader trends in the system.
  • Adequate and Suitable Service – Amend legal text to ensure railways are required to provide the highest level of service they can reasonably provide.
  • Captivity and Long-Haul Interswitching (LHI) – Eliminate the prerequisites for using LHI as well as many of the exclusions (such as toxic inhalation products, radioactives, and certain corridors) and allow the Agency to maintain the ability to extend interswitching beyond the  30 km limit by regulation for all shippers.

On September 13th, CIAC will appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport and Infrastructure to address the requested amendments.  CIAC’s submission to the committee can be found here. CIAC looks forward to working collaboratively with Transport Canada, and the Canadian Transportation Agency to meet the intent of the legislation, support opportunities for growth in the economy, and ensure the chemistry sector’s competitiveness in Canada.