The federal government still plans to introduce legislation to give shippers the right to service agreements with rail companies.
In response to recommendations made in the federal rail service review, Ottawa appointed a facilitator last fall to develop a template for service agreements, and to form a dispute resolution process. So far, shippers and railways have been unable to come to terms on a model agreement.
"From our standpoint, we'd prefer to see [legislation introduced] sooner rather than later so that farmers have that idea what's coming," said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "I've had separate discussions with the railways. They claim we don't need legislation, because they've shown they can do better. My response to them is, that's great, then we'll never have to use that tool in the tool kit, but I assured them that they will be there."
Ritz added that input from the agriculture sector has come from the crop logistics working group, which includes 13 producer and industry organizations.