Canada’s chemistry industry is pleased by the introduction of the Fair Rail Freight Service bill today – legislation that will provide greater balance to commercial negotiations between shippers and Canadian railways, and will ultimately improve rail performance.

The bill ─ which follows the recommendations of the 2011 Rail Freight Service Review Panel’s report ─ will give all shippers, regardless of size, the right to negotiate service-level agreements with rail carriers. It also outlines an arbitration process should negotiations break down – the results of which are binding and unappealable – as well as consequences should the railways fail to meet the terms of their service-level agreements.

As Canada’s third largest manufacturing sector, the chemistry industry is very dependent on the railway system– with over two-thirds of its annual shipments moved by rail.

“The level of service offered by Canada’s railways can make the difference between companies investing here, or taking their business elsewhere,” says Richard Paton, President and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC).

“So this legislation is critical – not only for our industry’s competitiveness, but for Canada’s overall productivity and prosperity.”

While the Fair Rail Freight Service bill addresses many of the concerns raised by Canadian shippers, its provisions do not apply to shipments carried beyond the Canada-U.S. border. CIAC hopes that the increased accountability placed on Canada’s railways through this legislation will nevertheless result in commercial agreements that cover the full extent of Canadian shippers’ needs.

CIAC commends Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Agriculture Canada for their collaborative efforts in addressing shippers’ needs through the Fair Rail Freight Service bill, and looks forward to working with Parliamentarians to ensure its speedy and successful passage into law. CIAC also hopes that this legislation will serve as a platform for continued collaboration with Canada’s railways – with the goal of achieving both efficient rail services and a more competitive manufacturing sector.

For more information, please contact:

Fiona Cook
Director, Business & Economics
Chemistry Industry Association of Canada