The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) applauds the government of Canada on its decision to move swiftly and decisively to take action to fix long-standing service issues identified by the Rail Freight Service Review Panel.

Earlier today the government announced that it will act quickly to address deficiencies in rail service. The announced measures include legislation that will establish shippers’ rights to service agreements with railways, a streamlined commercial dispute resolution mechanism and a commitment to develop performance metrics against which service will be evaluated.

“The government has correctly recognized that there are imbalances in Canada’s rail system that negatively impact the livelihoods of rural resource communities,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. “The actions announced today build on improvements the government made to rail service in 2008 by passing Bill C8, and confirm recommendations identified in the interim report from the Rail Freight Service Review panel released last October,” added Lazar.

Many resource shippers are located in remote regions of the country where rail transportation is the only viable option for getting their goods to the marketplace.  In the case of the forest products industry, most mills serviced by rail are captive to a single carrier and, as a result, many companies have had to contend with poor service for years without effective recourse due to a lack of competition.  The government launched the review of rail freight service three years ago in recognition of the need to find solutions to these service deficiencies.

“From our perspective, the government has gotten it right by taking these steps and the result will be more reliable and efficient rail service.  The measures announced today will help to ensure our rural industries can compete, create jobs, and sustain hundreds of communities from coast to coast.  This is government doing its job well. In particular I would like to acknowledge Minister Merrifield’s leadership in working to enhance Canada’s rail freight system.” said Lazar.

Forest Products Association of Canada
The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $54-billion-a-year forest products industry represents almost 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in hundreds of communities and providing hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs across the country. All FPAC members are signatory to the landmark Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

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Media Contact:
George Wamala
Manager, Government Relations and Policy
Forest Products Association of Canada
Association des produits forestiers du Canada
gwamala@fpac.ca
613-563-1441 x325