September 21, 2009 13:17 ET

Protecting Farmers' Rights to Use Producer Car-Loading Sites

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2009) - The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Honourable Rob Merrifield, Minister of State (Transport), today announced that steps have been taken to protect farmers' right to use producer car-loading sites.

"Immediately upon learning that CN Rail was going to be closing 52 producer car rail sites, I called its senior management into my office," said Minister Merrifield. "I am disappointed that a rail company would make significant changes that affect its customers without meaningful consultation."

Following the meeting, Canadian National (CN) Rail committed to keep the 52 producer car-loading sites that it had marked for closure by September 6, 2009, in place until at least the end of 2009. This additional time will allow for consultations with farmers interested in maintaining any of these sites.

"Farmers have always had the choice to load their crops onto train via an elevator, or via a producer car loading site," said Minister Ritz. "Our Government is committed to maintaining that choice."

The Government is pleased that CN Rail has agreed to reconsider its actions and has made assurances that it will engage farmers on the changes to its rail system.

A rail service review was recently initiated to examine issues and problems and recommend solutions for improving rail services provided to shippers by Canada's rail companies. This review is ongoing, and a final report is expected to be completed in mid-2010.

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Pursuant to section 87 of the Canada Grains Act, producers of grain have the right to load their own grain into a railway car for transport to a terminal elevator or to a consignee in another destination.

Recent amendments to the Canada Transportation Act require railways to publish a list of rail car sites available for grain producer loadings and to give a 60-day public notice before removing such sidings from operation.

Contact Information

  • Chris Hilton
    Office of the Minister of State (Transport),
    Rob Merrifield, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    Transport Canada, Ottawa