An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in October 2007.

Sponsor

Lawrence Cannon  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Transportation Act. Certain amendments apply to all modes of transportation, including amendments that clarify the national transportation policy and the operation of the Competition Act in the transportation sector, change the number of members of the Canadian Transportation Agency, create a mediation process for transportation matters, modify requirements regarding the provision of information to the Minister of Transport and modify and extend provisions regarding mergers and acquisitions of air transportation undertakings to all transportation undertakings.

It amends the Act with respect to the air transportation sector, in particular, in relation to complaints processes, the advertising of prices for air services and the disclosure of terms and conditions of carriage.

The enactment also makes several amendments with respect to the railway transportation sector. It creates a mechanism for dealing with complaints concerning noise and vibration resulting from the construction or operation of railways and provisions for dealing with the transfer and discontinuance of operation of railway lines. It also establishes a mechanism for resolving disputes between public passenger service providers and railway companies regarding the use of railway company equipment and facilities.

The enactment also amends the Railway Safety Act to create provisions for the appointment of police constables with respect to railway companies and procedures for dealing with complaints concerning them.

In addition, it contains transitional provisions and consequential amendments.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 14, 2007 Passed That the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be now read a second time and concurred in.
Feb. 21, 2007 Failed That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 5.
Feb. 21, 2007 Failed That Bill C-11 be amended by deleting Clause 3.

November 23rd, 2006 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Chair, what's beautiful about the clause that's drafted here is that it is broad enough to cover everything. In my experience in the legal profession, the profession has moved towards and the law societies have moved towards something called plain language. They've even established a plain language institute. People who use the legal system and who have to read this terminology want something they can get their minds around.

Quite frankly, I did have some difficulty with the previous version in Bill C-11. The one that we have before us today, which is the government amendment, in its scope and its generality, covers everything Mr. Julian has been harping about for the last few minutes. It's difficult to conceive of anything in what he was proposing that would not fit under this. In addition, this is even broader than that, so it can take into account future changes in the movement of traffic throughout Canada.

It's there. It's general. It's going to do the job.

November 21st, 2006 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

The current national transportation policy, under section 5, starts off by saying:

It is hereby declared that a safe, economic, efficient and adequate network of viable and effective transportation services accessible to persons with disabilities

It then goes on in paragraph (a) to say:

the national transportation system meets the highest practicable safety standards

If we don't adopt Monsieur Laframboise's motion, we're diminishing or watering down what currently exists as our national transportation policy.

Just to get a little bit ahead, the next amendment we're bringing forward is on persons with disabilities. We're referring to the current national transportation policy. So this already is in place--talking about the highest practicable safety standards, meeting the needs of people with disabilities, and having an adequate network of viable and effective transportation services. That's all here. We're making a political choice if we take all those words out, and that's what's in the version that has come before us of Bill C-11.

It's certainly not an inconsistency to say this transportation policy has been streamlined, but there are some elements that must be contained within it, and they're already there. If we choose not to adopt Monsieur Laframboise's motion, then essentially we're watering down what the current national transportation policy, as adopted by Parliament, says.

November 21st, 2006 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Why are we using the word “adequate”? My understanding is that we hire very skilled drafters in government to do this job for us. They draft something in context, and we run a serious risk, when we start nitpicking and inserting our own terms, of upsetting that very delicate balance that drafters use when they put together legislation. Later on there are some further amendments, and I'll be raising the issue again that there's a danger of our losing the balance between some of the parts of this particular clause because we're mickey-mousing around with the wording.

The word “adequate”, quite frankly, to my mind, coming from a legal background, is inviting litigation. It's returning uncertainty to something that the drafters had hoped was going to be certain. If this is any indication of where we're going with some of these amendments, I'm a little discouraged. I do trust our staff. It doesn't mean we don't exercise oversight over what they do, but at the same time, we have to trust them to a certain degree to provide us with the kind of wording and the flexibility that are required to deliver what we're hoping to deliver with Bill C-11.

I'm not sure this is a great start for us.

November 21st, 2006 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Thank you.

What we'll do is proceed, and when we run into those difficult clauses, we'll remember the words of wisdom that we've just heard.

On Bill C-11, we're going to start with clause 1. There are no amendments put forward on clause 1.

(Clause 1 agreed to)

That first one didn't hurt at all.

November 21st, 2006 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to meeting number 26 of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. Today we're following the orders of the day, pursuant to the order of reference of Thursday, September 21, 2006, Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

Joining us today are Helena Borges, director general, surface transportation policy; Brigita Gravitis-Beck, director general, air policy; and Alain Langlois, legal counsel. As everyone should know or will know, they're here to offer us advice on some of the amendments that we'll be reviewing today.

I want to make a couple of comments. We do have some amendments. I should thank the people who submitted their amendments last week so that the department could look at them, so the legal counsel could look at them. I will have some comments on them as we go through the process, reflecting the advice I've been given on those issues. As we go through them, we'll certainly try to address them individually with the staff that's here today.

With the committee's indulgence, I'm looking for agreement on something. If it's there, fine, and if it isn't.... One of the things I've asked the Transport people in general to look at is the clauses that are currently in the bill for which there are no amendments or that are not impacted by any of the amendments that are coming forward. I'm looking for direction, to see if there might be a willingness to move through it in that order and deal with the clauses that we know we can move through quickly, and then spend more time discussing and debating the amendments. We'll go over them line by line, if there are any questions. If there hasn't been an amendment put forward for a clause, then it would be something that we could pass, and then we could move into the more difficult amendments that have repercussions throughout the rest of the bill.

I ask for the committee's indulgence, if there's a willingness to do that. If not, we can proceed line by line.

Mr. Scott.

November 7th, 2006 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

First, allow me to thank you for your comments on bill C-11, which, obviously, deals with noise levels. I know that Mr. Laframboise spoke about it recently and I'm pleased to hear that he will be supporting this bill, which is extremely important for our communities, especially in urban areas where noise is a source of problems for our taxpayers. We were the ones who brought this legislative measure in.

With respect to the MRIF, the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, the title implies that this is a partnership with municipalities and small communities throughout the country.

It is my opinion that people living in these municipalities and small communities know what their priorities are. As partners, we work with them, we follow them. We are very happy to work in that manner and, obviously, according to conditions that set out terms of good management and healthy administration. I have always believed that municipalities are capable of making their own decisions. The elected members of city councils are capable of making their own decisions. They are accountable before the same taxpayers you and I are accountable before. As far as I'm concerned, in those circumstances municipalities are on the same footing as the provinces.

Obviously, decisions have to be made in terms of amounts and allocation of funding, however I feel that the municipalities are full-fledged partners in terms of the choices of projects that will be funded.

November 7th, 2006 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Minister, I am pleased to see that you take to heart issues that affect the Quebec City region because the pont de Québec leads to the beautiful riding of Lévis—Bellechasse. I would also like to tell you that your bill, bill C-11 — we're wrapping up our hearings — also affects many communities throughout the country. I think that many of these communities look forward to seeing it passed. We will soon be moving on to clause-by-clause study of the bill, and we truly realize that this bill has been a long time coming and that it meets the need.

That said, I would like to come back to some questions that were asked about infrastructures. This committee has discussed safety to a great extent, to date. Admittedly, the committee's mandate is rather broad. In the last budget you also significantly increased subsidies for infrastructures and you had indicated your intentions in that respect. For example, the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund is of particular interest to me. This fund involves $200 million for 2006-2007 and $332 million for 2007-2008. That is a much appreciated increase, given the needs of Canadian municipalities and communities.

I have an administrative question. I think this funding is much appreciated. In terms of its management, as you know this is a federal-provincial fund. Currently, the provinces are responsible for managing the fund and they decide on the provincial and federal allocation of funds.

Could you tell us how the federal government's investments are prioritized, and describe the decision-making process for the municipal-rural infrastructure fund? What do you think? Is the current situation satisfactory? Do you have any ideas or suggestions for managing these funds?

Aeronautics ActGovernment Orders

November 7th, 2006 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate on Bill C-6 concerning the Aeronautics Act.

When this bill was first debated, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport Canada told us that it provides for a legislative framework to further enhance aviation safety and, through safety management systems, to have a system in place that will actually allow a continuous method of keeping Canadians safe. According to him, Australia and the United Kingdom have had great results from this system.

Bill C-6 does indeed deal with integrated management systems and does allow for voluntary reporting programs under which information relating to aviation safety and security can be reported. Bill C-6 is indeed also based on the work done by the previous Liberal government.

However, it will be up to the present government to persuade us, to persuade us and Canadians, that the bill is still a good one.

Before I delve into the provisions of the text, let me make perfectly clear the principle upon which this side of the House's comments are predicated. The average Canadian citizen trusts that when it comes to boarding an airplane in this country, to fly to any destination, our federal government carries out its responsibility to ensure that the flight will be safe.

When parents send their teenage daughter on her first trip away from home, they trust in our federal safety system. When children see their father off on a business trip, they trust in our federal safety system. When a family waits patiently at the airport for a visit from their grandmother, they trust in our federal safety system.

The government has assigned this responsibility to Transport Canada and this bill seeks to amend a large piece of the legislation that safeguards passengers on the planes in our skies.

Bill C-6 amends the Aeronautics Act, which, as we know, establishes the Minister of Transport's responsibility for the development and the regulation of aeronautics in Canada and the supervision of all matters related to aeronautics. In particular, the Aeronautics Act enables the minister to apply the Canadian aviation regulations, which are, in effect, the rules governing aviation in Canada.

Keeping this in mind, I believe all members in the House will understand the caution that we as an opposition will bring to our examination of Bill C-6.

There are four avenues of inquiry that I would like to raise here today. If Bill C-6 is acceptable in premise to this House, then we will soon see it in committee and will be able to apply a stringent analysis of it, beginning, I hope, with these questions.

A large portion of this bill deals with the decision to make “integrated management systems” the basis for a broad range of important regulations, but what exactly are integrated management systems?

Over the past 10 years, companies in the transportation industries have adopted complex plans to achieve certain goals. These are management tools. These plans are systemic, in the sense that they coordinate activities throughout the company to achieve their goals, and they are integrated, in the sense that they bring together the standards set by outside authorities with the processes used by modern transportation enterprises.

Safety management systems are an example of an essential kind of integrated management system. Under a specific safety management system, an airline may, for example, set out how and how often its mechanics have to check an airplane's engines. The plans, the safety management systems, are meant to prevent problems from occurring by taking every reasonable precaution.

By planning how often mechanics are to check the engines and by planning what they should do if there is a question mark of any sort, hopefully there will never be a safety incident. This is the role of a safety management system.

Transport Canada has been working with airlines and safety management systems for several years. Up until now, they have guided a company's actions but have not had the force of law. Instead, Transport Canada has continued to enforce safety regulations, enabled by the existing Aeronautics Act, as the legal standards for safe flying.

If an airline did not comply with the actual aviation regulations, including the paperwork submitted to prove that it was in compliance, it did not matter how good the safety management system was. The airline was simply breaking the law.

Now, with Bill C-6, the government would like to change the obligations of airlines and certain other aviation organizations. The government is saying that Transport Canada should be able to compel these organizations to meet their safety standards, these requirements, and do away with the old prescriptive Transport Canada regulations.

The argument for this evolution is that airlines have many things to do to ensure safety. They have every incentive to be safe and so have already come up with the systems that are most effective.

It is a waste of time and energy, the government argues, for these companies to verify to Transport Canada at every turn that the safety checks are done. Instead, Transport Canada should focus on ensuring that the system agreed to is actually in effect through audits and inspections.

Let us think about this for the average Canadian as if we were taking care of a truck. Right now, Transport Canada tells the company to inspect the brakes every month. It asks for paperwork stating that the inspection was complete. The company's representative declares that the inspection was done and that there was no problem. With Bill C-6, Transport Canada would instead require the company to plan to check the brakes and it would check to see that the plan was being followed, but no paperwork would be submitted on a continual basis attesting that those individual checks were done successfully.

Is this a better way of ensuring safety for travelling Canadians? Does it allow precious safety resources to be better focused on integrating a whole safe system so that incidents do not occur? Or, does it relieve pressure and ultimately lead to gaps that could have tragic consequences?

Despite the enthusiasm of the parliamentary secretary and the minister for Bill C-6, I do not see a clear-cut answer to this yet. We need to know that the safety measures that are to be used are accurate and encourage the safest possible flights. We also need to know that the safety indicators, tracked by different airlines, are comparable, that when we raise the bar, we are comparing apples to apples in establishing our safety standards.

Bill C-6 contains the provision on voluntary reporting of information relating to aviation safety and security, a provision that gives rise to another concern.

The bill authorizes the minister to establish a program under which individuals working in the transportation industry may report to his department any information relating to aviation safety that they consider to be relevant, in the strictest confidentiality. The goal here is for people who are responsible for mistakes to have every reason to admit them as soon as possible so that they can remedied before any damage is done.

I fully support the creation of an environment in which employees and others will do everything possible to ensure safety. In fact, from the important work done by our government in the area of intelligent regulation, I have observed over the years that we must be more flexible in the instruments we choose to achieve the desired result. The desired result in this case is clear: safe aircraft—period.

The government has a spectrum of possible tools at its disposal to achieve this clear goal of safety. They range, on the one hand, from specific command and control style regulations, with Transport Canada saying, “Thou shalt abide by this rule”, to, on the other hand, purely voluntary measures. My concern is that voluntary reporting of critical safety information may not be sufficient in a situation where people's lives and people's livelihoods are at risk.

Undoubtedly, we need a mix of rules and regulations that provide for the best opportunity to prevent air disasters. We have a good track record. Let us be careful about what changes we are ready to make here.

My third area of concern is the powers of the minister generally. There are several pieces of legislation before us this fall, during a minority government no less, that intend to increase the powers of the Minister of Transport.

Bill C-3 would give the minister the direct power to authorize the construction of international bridges and tunnels without parliamentary oversight. Bill C-6 would open the door for the minister to devolve his powers and responsibilities for aeronautical safety to other organizations. Bill C-11 would allow the minister to review mergers and acquisitions in all federal transportation sectors, hardly the hallmark of a Conservative government. Bill C-20, if we ever see it come to the fore, proposes to let the minister oversee and constrain the operations of airport authorities in new and restrictive ways.

When taken as a whole, these measures indicate clearly that the government is moving forward on all fronts to give the Minister of Transport new powers.

It is fear of this very tendency, what was described as a power grab, that prompted a loud outcry from the members of the Conservative Party when they were in opposition. I note that they have been strangely silent for several months now, however, when it comes to expanding government powers. This is particularly true in the case of the backbenchers on the government side.

I would note that I am not opposed to the principle of greater powers when that is necessary, but I would like to remind the minister and the government side of what they said and the expectations they created on the part of the Canadian public. They still have the onus of demonstrating the urgent need to expand the minister’s powers, not only in Bill C-6, but also in four other transport bills.

Finally, let me turn to my fourth subject and my fourth area of concern, the proposed creation of the Canadian Forces airworthiness investigative authority. The new CFAIA, as it is called, would take on the responsibilities of the Transportation Safety Board for aeronautical incidents, including accidents that involve Canadian Forces aircraft.

The information surrounding these events would now fall under the clear jurisdiction of the Minister of National Defence, as we have just heard from his parliamentary secretary. This is, in and of itself, a sensible development. However, the concerns expressed to me by various groups, which I wish to express to the government, regard incidents that involve both military and civilian aircraft.

The new CFAIA would be given the authority to investigate these incidents and accidents in Bill C-6. However, Canadians want to be assured that they will still have access to full and complete information in the unfortunate circumstance that an accident affects them or their loved ones. In fact, they would like access to full and complete information whether or not the accident directly affects them because transparency is of the utmost importance in a democratic society such as ours.

The new subsection 17(2) of the Aeronautics Act would read that investigation observers from outside the forces are “Subject to any conditions that the Airworthiness Investigative Authority imposes...”. It is incumbent upon the government to now clarify what measures are being taken to guarantee that the facts of any future incident will not be covered up using the proposed provisions of the Aeronautics Act.

I know that the government is committed in words to transparency, but Canadians need to see that the government is equally committed to act in a transparent manner.

I am pleased to see that under Liberal leadership, the government did extensive consultations with industry, labour and other stakeholders, and that there appears to be widespread support for some of the provisions in this bill, but as a responsible opposition, we are not yet convinced that the bill as written meets the appropriate societal tests.

There is no doubt in my mind that we must be constantly vigilant to ensure that the federal government, which is constitutionally seized with and responsible for aeronautical safety, and the private aircraft operators and companies who compete today in a low margin, highly competitive international marketplace, have struck the appropriate balance of rule and regulation to provide for safety in the greater public interest.

The families who depart and arrive in airports throughout Canada, every minute and every hour of every day, deserve no less than our full attention to Bill C-6.

We will support the bill at second reading and I look forward to the opportunity in committee to hear witnesses explain, in much greater detail, what will actually happen on the ground should Bill C-6 earn our ultimate approval.

November 2nd, 2006 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

As the agency responsible for the mediation and adjudication process outlined in our dispute resolution section of Bill C-11, do you feel that both the public service providers and the rail companies will be on a level playing field with this, or will there be any inherent advantages for one or the other?

November 2nd, 2006 / 4:35 p.m.
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Gilles Dufault Acting Chairman, Canadian Transportation Agency

Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee.

We are pleased to be here this afternoon to answer questions that members may have on Bill C-11.

As was the case last time, I have with me today, from the Canadian Transportation Agency, Mr. Seymour Isenberg, Director General Rail and Marine Branch, and Ms. Joan MacDonald, Director General, Air and Accessible Transportation Branch.

Mr. Chair, we're ready to answer questions of the members of the committee.

November 2nd, 2006 / 4:10 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the witnesses for being here today.

I'll start with Mr. Churko. We appreciate your coming before the committee today.

You made a couple of comments around the costings of rail cars, that the costings come from the railways themselves, which is a real problem for farmers. There is no doubt about that. Indeed, there is no process now for involving stakeholders, the farmers themselves, in the costing around rail cars.

I'd like you to go into some detail about what process you would recommend and whether or not you believe it's germane to Bill C-11 and whether there are possible amendments we could bring forward to that.

November 2nd, 2006 / 3:45 p.m.
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Bernie Churko Chief Executive Officer, Farmer Rail Car Coalition

Mr. Chairman, members of the Standing Committee on Transport, good afternoon. On behalf of the Farmer Rail Car Coalition, I want to thank you for this opportunity to comment on Bill C-11.

The Farmer Rail Car Coalition, an organization comprising 17 farm organizations from the three prairie provinces, was established to realize a fairly simple goal: to provide an adequate supply of reliable, well-maintained, modern cars for the movement of western Canadian grain at the lowest possible cost to farmers.

Considering that the previous government had committed to selling its hopper car fleet, the FRCC is convinced that it had developed a business plan that would have delivered on that goal. It is that plan that formed the basis of the agreement reached by the FRCC and the Government of Canada in November of 2005.

During the development of its business plan, the FRCC examined the costs associated with the maintenance of hopper cars in North America. After extensive study, it determined that the North American industry average cost related to the maintenance of a grain service hopper car of similar vintage to those of the government fleet is approximately $1,500 per car, per year. The Canadian Transportation Agency had estimated that for the 2002-2003 crop year, $4,329 per car, per year is embedded in the revenue cap. Not only were the costs excessive, the cars were not being maintained to acceptable standards. For the federal government fleet, this difference in cost approaches $40 million annually.

On May 4, 2006, the new federal government announced its decision to retain ownership of the federal hopper car fleet, thus ending the proposed purchase of the fleet by the FRCC. To address the excess hopper car maintenance costs being paid by producers, as identified by the FRCC, the federal government announced that legislation would be introduced that would result in a net reduction of freight rates by an estimated $2.00 to $2.50 per tonne.

Considering that approximately 25,000 cars are used in grain service in an average year, the difference between FRCC's maintenance plan and the costs embedded in the revenue cap could amount to over $70 million per year when all cars--other government cars, the Canadian Wheat Board cars, and the railway cars--are included.

The FRCC advised the government that it was prepared to support the government's decision to retain ownership providing six recommendations were adopted. Two of these require legislative amendments. These recommendations were forwarded to the members of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and, I understand, to this committee. The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food adopted a variation of the FRCC's recommendations on May 30, 2006.

The first of these six recommendations was to introduce legislation to remove from the revenue cap the excess maintenance costs for all cars moving statutory grain. Mr. Chairman, we are very pleased to see that the government has taken action on this recommendation.

After examining the amendments to the Canada Transportation Act proposed in Bill C-11, the FRCC has concluded that the addition of clause 57 of the transitional provisions does provide the agency with the legislative authority needed to undertake the recosting of hopper car maintenance for all hopper cars.

The FRCC and all its member organizations wish to thank the government for recognizing and expeditiously addressing this problem. We do have two concerns, however. In many cases, when the agency undertakes a railway costing exercise, the primary source of their information is the railways themselves. This happens because in most instances no other source of data exists. In the area of hopper car maintenance, however, there are numerous sources of information that can be drawn on by the agency. In fact, parties other than the class 1 railways own nearly 65% of hopper cars in service in North America. It is our view that this information provides an invaluable benchmark against which the railway maintenance costs should be compared.

Our second concern is that in some cases the agency conducts its work in railway costing without the benefit of input from affected stakeholders. We believe it is imperative that in this case stakeholders be invited to participate in the process. This has proven to be a very successful process when the agency indexes costs, as required under the act.

With respect to clause 151, the FRCC has examined the proposed legislative amendment and has determined that it is inhibiting the ability of shippers to economically acquire their own car supply; and secondly, it is impeding private sector shops from successfully carrying out the maintenance of the government fleet where it is the lowest-cost option. Both of these are important if the transportation system is to effectively serve the grain industry.

In a circumstance where government-supplied cars are to be provided to the railways on a full-service basis--that is, the railways are not responsible for maintenance costs, or are removed from railway service and leased directly to shippers of statutory grains on a full-service leased basis--no clear provisions exist in the act to remove the maintenance cost embedded in the revenue cap for these cars. As a result, a situation could exist where the railways are being paid for maintaining cars that they are no longer maintaining.

The FRCC recommends that paragraph 151.(4)(c) be amended to state:

The Agency shall make adjustments to the index to reflect the changes in costs incurred by the prescribed railway companies as a result of the sale, lease, change in lease terms or other disposal or withdrawal from service of government hopper cars.

Finally, it is common practice for shippers in the business of moving bulk commodities to acquire rail cars to ensure they have the capacity to meet market demands. The act supports this practice. Subsection 113.(3) of the act states:

Where a shipper provides rolling stock for the carriage by the railway company of the shipper's traffic, the company shall, at the request of the shipper, establish specific reasonable compensation to the shipper in a tariff for the provision of rolling stock.

However, in the case of statutory grain movements, the legislation does not easily accommodate this practice. In some circumstances, the affected railway may not be able to recoup the compensation it provided to the shipper; in other cases, the railway may be compensated again for revenues that it's already entitled to under the revenue cap.

The agency requires the clear authority to assess the circumstances and permit an adjustment to the revenue cap that deals fairly with both the railway and the shipper. The FRCC recommends that paragraph 150.(3)(a) of the act be amended to state:

For the purpose of this section, a prescribed railway company's revenue for the movement of grain in a crop year shall not include

(a) incentives, rebates or any similar reductions paid or allowed by the company,

—and this is the addition—

including reasonable compensation paid by the company to a shipper for the provision of rolling stock for the carriage by the railway company of the shipper's grain;

I look forward to discussing these issues as well as any other issues of interest to the committee during the question period. I also hope we have an opportunity to explore the FRCC's other recommendations.

November 2nd, 2006 / 3:35 p.m.
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Jean R. Gauthier President, Regroupement des citoyens contre la Pollution

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would first like to thank the members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for giving us the opportunity to make observations and recommendations. We hope that we can be of use to you and inspire the committee in its work.

The Regroupement des citoyens contre la pollution was founded a few years back. Its mission is to pursue humanitarian objectives, such as defending quality of life and environmental integrity, providing its members and the general public with the information needed to properly understand issues of industrial and agricultural pollution, and taking all the means available to identify, denounce and, if necessary, prosecute individuals or corporations responsible for commercial and industrial activities deemed to contaminate or harm the environment. That is our purpose.

In our introduction, we would like to stress that we fully endorse the brief submitted by the Coalition québécoise contre les bruits ferroviaires (Quebec Coalition Against Railway Noise) and that of the City of Lévis, which were submitted to you and tabled a few days ago in the context of the review of Bill C-11.

The railway industry has flourished in recent years, and we are delighted that it has. However, this has given rise to a number of problems for people living close to railway tracks.

The two major problems linked to this growth are a significant decline in the quality of life caused by noise (whistles, engines running at full power, screeching wheels, cars being coupled in switching yards and inconvenience to road users) and the imminent dangers related to the transportation of dangerous goods (derailments, spills, collisions, explosions, etc.).

This situation has a deplorable impact on the quality of life and on the health of residents along with negative economic impacts. The activities of the major rail carriers, i.e, CN and CP, have a direct impact on the real estate value of adjacent properties.

I will now ask Ghislain to talk to you about noise pollution.

November 2nd, 2006 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Good afternoon, everyone.

I call to order meeting 23 of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, pursuant to the order of reference of Thursday, September 21, 2006, Bill C-11, an act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

Mr. Julian.

November 2nd, 2006 / 9:20 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Certainly, Mr. Chair. I apologize.

Let us take Bill C-11, for example, which is being considered in the transport committee. We have now had four weeks of hearings from witnesses across the country on that particular bill, and in fact we are looking at a period of six weeks to submit amendments.

In this case, the opposition was extremely cooperative. Eight days after receiving a clause-by-clause report, it submitted clause-by-clause amendments to the bill. That level of cooperation is something that wasn't seen either in this or the previous Parliament.

So I would hope that the government would cooperate back, given that we have made concessions, both in terms of the time required for amendments and also in extending the time today for the hearing.

Mr. Chair, I'd like to come to the most important thing, the actual witnesses themselves, and what they have said in requesting to be heard in front of this committee. Whether it's by teleconference, video conference, or in person, I think this is of much less important than the fact that they want to appear.

Russ Cameron of the Independent Lumber Remanufacturers Association stated the following. He urges you to convene committee meetings so that the parties affected by Bill C-24 may appear as witnesses and express their views on this pending legislation:

We realize that sessions were held earlier in this process as we appeared at them, but things have changed a great deal since that time. For example, we were originally assured that all our interest would be returned to us, but now Canada will take some of it too. We were originally told in writing that we would get all our money back if we elected not to sell to EDC at a discount, but now Canada is imposing a special charge and will take that money from us too. We were originally told that 95% support was required, but when it was not there, Canada changed that requirement. We were originally told that all litigation must be dropped, but when it was not dropped, GOC changed that requirement too.

We have yet to see the much changed final agreement that the GOC plans to force upon us, yet we are currently operating under it. We now have experience with what this agreement will do to our industry and we need the opportunity to relate this new knowledge to the Committee.

At the July 31 Trade Committee meetings, a motion by Mr. Julian was passed to take the Committee to the affected parties and hold meetings in BC, Quebec, and Ontario. This has not yet occurred

--and we ask you to follow through with this motion.

The Independent Lumber Remanufacturers Association represents 120 B.C. companies, employing over 4,000 Canadians. Our annual sales are $2.5 billion on four billion board feet.

So that's Russ Cameron from the Independent Lumber Remanufacturers Association writing to urge this committee to have hearings on Bill C-24 before we move to clause-by-clause consideration.

We have a letter from Frank Everett, and Bill Derbyshire, who's president of Local 1425--