The government of Canada says it will work with Parliament to hold on to certain provisions of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) that were set to expire this year.
These provisions, which were enacted by the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act in 2014, include content around things like interswitching and level-of-service obligations for railways.
Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett says this legislation created leverage for producers, forcing a response to the backlog of grain in the rail sector.
"I think if you recall back, there was a lot of grain moved very quickly once the act was put in place," he says. "The one thing that maybe relieved pressure in 2015 was that there wasn't quite as big of a harvest, so it did relieve some of the pressure on the rail system, but if we get back into place with a really good harvest, we know that we're going to have to make sure that there's some system in place to make sure that product gets to market on time."
Bonnett says from his perspective, there's still a need to have these policies in place, particularly in this period of review for Canada's rail system.
"I think having that extension now is a good thing because at least it leaves those tools in place until such time as a broader look at the whole railroad issue can be finalized," he says.
In a press release, the government says this postponement will allow the railway system to better plan for the upcoming year while Transport Minister Marc Garneau considers recommendations from the CTA review report.