Government of Canada marks passage of Bill C-49, the Transportation Modernization Act

News release

May 24, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canada’s hard-working grain farmers rely on an efficient and reliable rail system for getting their products to market. The Transportation Modernization Act (Bill C-49), which received Royal Assent on May 23, is a long-term solution that gives Canadian grain farmers a strong, reliable and efficient transportation system so they can get their products to market safely and in a timely manner. The Government understands how important grain farmers are to the continued growth of the Canadian economy, particularly in rural communities, and wanted to have the Transportation Modernization Act in place before the next crop year.

The Transportation Modernization Act was built from extensive consultations with stakeholders, including many representatives of the agricultural sector. It includes a number of new tools and benefits for the grain industry, such as establishing reciprocal penalties between railway companies and their customers, and clarifying the definition of “adequate and suitable” service.

The Government’s bill will also:

  • Permit the Canadian Transportation Agency to initiate investigations into issues facing the supply chain with the approval of the Minister of Transport;
  • Add soybeans as an eligible crop under the Maximum Revenue Entitlement; and,
  • Allow shippers to use the new Long-Haul Interswitching remedy, even if they are served by more than one railway or are within 30 km of an interchange, if the railway or interchange is not in the reasonable direction of their movement.


“Our government fully understands the importance of Canada’s grain farmers to the growth of our economy, our rural communities and the middle class. With the passage of the historic Transportation Modernization Act, we are providing a strong and long-term solution for Canada’s farmers to reliably get their products to market, helping to put more money in their pockets and meet the growing demand for Canada’s top quality grain. I thank our grain industry leaders for all their hard work – this is a milestone achievement for the long-term growth and success of the sector.”

- The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“I’m very pleased to see the passage of Bill C-49, which will put into place the right conditions to ensure the efficient and reliable transportation of grain and other commodities over the longer term. This Bill is specifically designed to provide shippers with the tools they need to hold railways to account on their commitments and move products to market, further promoting trade and economic growth.”

- The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“The amendments to the Canada Transportation Act contained in Bill C-49 are designed to allow shippers to capture more value in existing and new markets. By giving shippers more competitive options, and allowing them the ability to instate financial consequences for poor rail service, we believe global customers will look more and more to Canada for consistent, reliable and quality grain products.”

- Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the Western Grain Elevator Association.

“Consistent and reliable rail service is of vital importance to value-added oilseed processors. We are optimistic that Bill C-49’s long-haul interswitching provisions will give us the ability to leverage competing rail lines. This will be particularly critical for shipments along the North-South corridor, as value added processors will now be able to seek out better service and rates when shipping to our most important market – the United States.”

- Chris Vervaet, Executive Director of the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association.

“The Transportation Modernization Act moves us in the right direction for building a more predictable and reliable transportation system for farmers, for exporters and for our global customers. Several elements contained in Bill C-49, including reciprocal penalties and expanded data collection, will improve the balance of power between railways and shippers and ultimately enhance rail service for farmers.”

- Rick White, CEO of the Canadian Canola Growers Association

“Grain farmers are pleased to welcome the passage of this historic Bill. C-49 will improve the long-term competitiveness of the grain supply chain and we look forward to using these new tools in the next crop year.”

- Art Enns, Vice President, Grain Growers of Canada

Quick facts

  • On average, half of the grain produced in Canada is exported beyond our borders.

  • Grain accounts for $20 billion in Canadian exports per year.

  • Grain exports accounted for nearly $21 billion in 2017 (not including forages and fractions such as meals/oils/flours).

Associated links


Guy Gallant
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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