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Pulse Canada wants to postpone sunset provisions in Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act


WINNIPEG, Man.– Pulse Canada, the national association representing growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulse crops (peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas), is encouraging the Government of Canada to postpone the sunset provisions of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, which will take effect August 1, 2016.

The extended interswitching provisions contained in the Act have begun to have an effect and evidence of this is mounting within the grain industry.

“Some companies are noting lower prices on certain routings and in cases where railways have lost business due to competition, they are actively campaigning to get it back by offering rate reductions and improved levels of service” says Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada.

Many pulse and special crops shippers have only recently begun to consider interswitching, but early signals suggest the provisions are starting to have the desired effect on behaviour.

“It’s important to note that the measure of success of extended interswitching is not in how many times it is used but rather its effectiveness in creating competitive forces” says Bacon. “There’s a lot of emphasis being placed on need for evidence that shippers have used the provision, but we need to move beyond that measure. When the desired outcome is a change in behaviour, success will mean the use of this provision is the exception to the rule” added Bacon.

Renewal of the provisions in what was introduced as Bill C-30 will require a motion in the House that postpones the sunset clauses of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.

Postponing the sunset provisions also provides time for Government and industry to review, assess and enter a constructive dialogue on potential revisions to the Canada Transportation Act (CTA). Pulse Canada has completed an assessment of the Canada Transportation Act Review Report by the Honorable David Emerson and is sharing its views with government and industry this week.

“The CTA Review is just one piece of input to a much broader discussion. We expect that the follow-up plan will include targeted consultation with stakeholders as well as an examination of evidence as input to the decision making process,” says Lee Moats, Chair of Pulse Canada.

“The real work starts now and Pulse Canada very much looks forward to partnering with colleagues in industry and government to develop practical and effective legislative and regulatory change that results in a more competitive and responsive rail transportation system for Canadian agriculture and the Canadian economy,” says Moats.