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Canola growers file complaint against railways

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The CCGA says CN and CP's  service restrict the commercial success of the Canadian grain sector.

GRAHAM HUGHES / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

The CCGA says CN and CP's service restrict the commercial success of the Canadian grain sector.

The Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) has filed a level of service complaint against the country’s two national railways over the backlog in grain shipments this year in Western Canada.

The association said Monday the complaint to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) was filed under Sections 113 to 116 of the Canada Transport Act, which states the railways shall provide "adequate and suitable" accommodation for all traffic presented to it for carriage.

"The breakdown of the Western Canadian rail transportation system this year is completely unacceptable for grain producers," said CCGA president Brett Halstead, who is a farmer from Nokomis, Sask. "Ultimately, it is farmers who are bearing the cost of this supply chain failure."

CCGA CEO Rick White admitted a level of service complaint is a serious undertaking, but said it was the only recourse for Western Canadian grain farmers.

"The railways cannot continue to restrict the commercial success of the Canadian grain sector and the broader national economy to fit their business plans or their historic approach to operations," he said.

"We have compelling arguments that the railways have failed in their statutory service obligations, and we are asking the Agency for a decision. This complaint is about clarifying the statutory obligations of the railways to provide suitable and adequate service, now and for the future."

The complaint is against Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway. The association said the CTA will investigate and issue a determination within 120 days of receiving the complaint.

History

Updated on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 12:13 PM CDT: Clarifies who will be investigating.

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