Picking up steam: Growing Canada’s economy with modernized Rail Transportation

Backgrounder

All Canadians would benefit from a competitive and reliable freight rail system. In a vast nation like Canada, rail is often the only economically viable mode of transportation to move commodities within the country, across the border, and to our ports for shipment overseas. Our rail system makes a significant contribution to the economy and international trade.

The Government of Canada has introduced legislation to support a transparent, fair, efficient and safe national freight rail system that would meet the long-term needs of users and facilitate trade and economic growth for years to come.

This proposed legislation is the result of over a year of consultation and is informed by the feedback and guidance of stakeholders across the country.

The legislation would promote transparency, system efficiency, and strong private sector investment. Key measures would include:

  • New data reporting requirements for railways on rates, service and performance, to enhance system transparency;
  • A new mechanism, Long-Haul Interswitching, to provide captive shippers across all sectors and regions of Canada with access to a competing railway, to ensure they have options;
  • A definition of “adequate and suitable” rail service that confirms railways should provide shippers with the highest level of service that can reasonably be provided in the circumstances;  
  • The ability for shippers to seek reciprocal financial penalties in their service agreements with railways, to enhance accountability; and
  • More accessible and timely remedies for shippers on both rates and service, to support fair negotiations.

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