Transportation Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Marc Garneau  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Canada Transportation Act in respect of air transportation and railway transportation.

With respect to air transportation, it amends the Canada Transportation Act to require the Canadian Transportation Agency to make regulations establishing a new air passenger rights regime and to authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations requiring air carriers and other persons providing services in relation to air transportation to report on different aspects of their performance with respect to passenger experience or quality of service. It amends the definition of Canadian in that Act in order to raise the threshold of voting interests in an air carrier that may be owned and controlled by non-Canadians while retaining its Canadian status, while also establishing specific limits related to such interests. It also amends that Act to create a new process for the review and authorization of arrangements involving two or more transportation undertakings providing air services to take into account considerations respecting competition and broader considerations respecting public interest.

With respect to railway transportation, it amends the Act to, among other things,

(a) provide that the Canadian Transportation Agency will offer information and informal dispute resolution services;

(b) expand the Governor in Council’s powers to make regulations requiring major railway companies to provide to the Minister of Transport and the Agency information relating to rates, service and performance;

(c) repeal provisions of the Act dealing with insolvent railway companies in order to allow the laws of general application respecting bankruptcy and insolvency to apply to those companies;

(d) clarify the factors that must be applied in determining whether railway companies are fulfilling their service obligations;

(e) shorten the period within which a level of service complaint is to be adjudicated by the Agency;

(f) enable shippers to obtain terms in their contracts dealing with amounts to be paid in relation to a failure to comply with conditions related to railway companies’ service obligations;

(g) require the Agency to set the interswitching rate annually;

(h) create a new remedy for shippers who have access to the lines of only one railway company at the point of origin or destination of the movement of traffic in circumstances where interswitching is not available;

(i) change the process for the transfer and discontinuance of railway lines to, among other things, require railway companies to make certain information available to the Minister and the public and establish a remedy for non-compliance with the process;

(j) change provisions respecting the maximum revenue entitlement for the movement of Western grain and require certain railway companies to provide to the Minister and the public information respecting the movement of grain; and

(k) change provisions respecting the final offer arbitration process by, among other things, increasing the maximum amount for the summary process to $2 million and by making a decision of an arbitrator applicable for a period requested by the shipper of up to two years.

It amends the CN Commercialization Act to increase the maximum proportion of voting shares of the Canadian National Railway Company that can be held by any one person to 25%.

It amends the Railway Safety Act to prohibit a railway company from operating railway equipment and a local railway company from operating railway equipment on a railway unless the equipment is fitted with the prescribed recording instruments and the company, in the prescribed manner and circumstances, records the prescribed information using those instruments, collects the information that it records and preserves the information that it collects. This enactment also specifies the circumstances in which the prescribed information that is recorded can be used and communicated by companies, the Minister of Transport and railway safety inspectors.

It amends the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act to allow the use or communication of an on-board recording, as defined in subsection 28(1) of that Act, if that use or communication is expressly authorized under the Aeronautics Act, the National Energy Board Act, the Railway Safety Act or the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

It amends the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act to authorize the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to enter into agreements for the delivery of screening services on a cost-recovery basis.

It amends the Coasting Trade Act to enable repositioning of empty containers by ships registered in any register. These amendments are conditional on Bill C-30, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act, receiving royal assent and sections 91 to 94 of that Act coming into force.

It amends the Canada Marine Act to permit port authorities and their wholly-owned subsidiaries to receive loans and loan guarantees from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. These amendments are conditional on Bill C-44, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, receiving royal assent.

Finally, it makes related and consequential amendments to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Competition Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, the Air Canada Public Participation Act, the Budget Implementation Act, 2009 and the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.

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

May 22, 2018 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
May 3, 2018 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
May 3, 2018 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (amendment)
Nov. 1, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
Oct. 30, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
Oct. 30, 2017 Failed Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
Oct. 30, 2017 Failed Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
Oct. 30, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 19, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 15, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I cannot help but agree with him about the Liberals' lack of consistency. He mentioned several times in his speech that they are always saying how urgent it is to take action while at the same time creating obstacles and holding up the bill every step of the way to make sure the process takes longer. Obviously, the government is being inconsistent.

I wanted to ask a question about the two small amendments that we talked about this morning. Only those amendments, along with the adoption of the motion I moved earlier, could have ensured that the bill went directly for royal assent, rather than continuing to be stuck in the back and forth between the Senate and the House.

Does my colleague believe that one of the two Senate amendments sought to establish a balance of power between farmers and our two major railways when it comes to the negotiation of contracts on the delivery price for grain or other products? Let's be honest, although these railways are a duopoly, they basically have a monopoly.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his input at committee.

Why they do not is a darn good question. The amendments make sense. That final offer arbitration, where the railways can just say 100% that they would not buy into this, makes no sense.

I really do not get the issue with the interswitching for the Maritimes. If people can see what rates they will be charged, in order to make a decision, that would make sense. Why are the Liberals excluding the Maritimes from this, when the rest of Canada has some options to choose from? It is beyond me why they would exclude the Maritimes from that.

These are very small amendments, and they were two of the issues that the witnesses who testified talked about. The final offer arbitration was talked about extensively, and how challenging the former process was, yet the railways can opt out 100%. It makes no sense.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciated listening to the member for Bow River and his rational, reasonable, common-sense question of why in the world we are where we are today, when this issue could have been dealt with months ago.

On behalf of stakeholders across my riding and across Canada, we asked the government to please take out the portion with regard to freight and deal with it separately, deal with it quickly, because we all know how important this is to agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.

The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act had been put in place to deal with an issue and look further down the road to see how well it worked. It worked so well that, right across the country, there was an ask for a buy-in so that all these shippers would be able to use that same type of process. However, the current government absolutely refused to go in that direction. As a result, the Liberals have delayed the shipping of products for our economy to our coasts over and over again by removing amendments, not working with the committee, and not working with the Senate.

The Liberals are claiming that they want the bill to pass quickly, but their actions absolutely have not matched their words. By opposing the Senate amendments, they are ignoring our stakeholders and delaying the passage of their own bill, Bill C-49.

Why are the Liberals delaying the passage of their own bill?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her understanding of the long history of the issue of rail on the Prairies, which is such a critical piece.

As she mentioned, there was a piece of legislation that was in place up until 2015. The government had options. It could have extended that legislation temporarily for one or two years while it studied and consulted, but it did not. The Liberals could have extended it, but they let it die. They could have taken our ask to split it out. I understand that transportation is a complicated piece. However, on transportation with rail, and the pieces we need, the Liberals could have done that. We would have supported them on that. We would have worked with them to get it done. They chose not to take our offer, so that delayed it again.

I have no problem with consultation, but the Liberals continue this process back and forth between here and the other place, while reasonable amendments, like the two this morning, are rejected. Those are good amendments that came from stakeholders in the Emerson report, and from their consultations. As of this morning, those are two simple amendments that could have been added to make the bill work better.

Again, I do not know why.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. For years I sat in opposition and I remember the efforts from the member for Wascana, today's Minister of Public Safety, who was constantly asking the government in different ways why we were not protecting our commodities, our suppliers, and our grain farmers in the prairies. He asked when we would see the legislation.

For years, Stephen Harper did absolutely nothing on the file. Within a couple of years, we have now advanced the file. We have good, solid legislation, and now we have the Conservatives saying we should have done this or that. They had 10 years to do it, and they failed. They did not get the job done. Now we have the legislation before us. It is good legislation. The stakeholders, for the most part, are supportive of it. Why do they not just accept a good thing and allow it to continue to go through?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the wealth of knowledge and the way our colleague speaks to us. I appreciate the time he gives, and he gives it often. He knows I also appreciate his Winnipeg Jets.

The former minister, Mr. Ritz, did take action, and he did put changes in under the Conservative government, which relieved the situation. That was a piece of legislation that worked extensively and could have continued on.

The Emerson report was done under the Conservative government, and the consultation was there. It was an excellent report that was placed into the minister's hands on the other side. There was a lot of information there.

What was turned down again this morning were two amendments. These were amendments that our witnesses, the organizations, have asked about. There may be many good parts in the bill, but those two amendments would have made it better. As for the suggestion that we cannot propose amendments that improve legislation, that the Liberals have all the answers, there was an example of two amendments that could have made that legislation better.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his well-thought-out and wise speech. I know he comes from an area where the energy sector is really important, and he knows I come from an area where manufacturing and exporting are really important.

We heard the Prime Minister repeat over and over again that he wants to phase out the oil and gas sector. He did that most recently a few weeks ago in Europe. He also said during the election that he wants to transition away from manufacturing. I wonder if my colleague could comment on the rail sector and its importance to our competitiveness. We all know our transportation system is extremely integrated, but by not passing this bill when they had opportunity again today to just pass it, but did not, it seems like the Liberals are slowing things down. I wonder if my colleague could say what kind of domino effect this is going to have on our transportation system and our ability to compete internationally, especially at a time like this.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Martin Shields Conservative Bow River, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned manufacturing and resources, oil and gas. My particular riding has the four largest irrigation districts in Canada. It produces many of the niche crops that we export. Grains are important, but we produce many niche crops as well. We are also putting a lot of oil in rail cars in my riding, and then there is manufacturing. People would be surprised to learn there is a lot of manufacturing in my riding. The suitcase someone picks up from a luggage rack at an airport was probably made in my constituency. Clearly, the number of different things that need to be moved by rail is extensive.

That is why we need a fair market in the rail system. We need to understand what the costs of rail are, to have interswitching in the Maritimes so people can see what their costs are and to have final arbitration that actually works and does not allow the railways to just opt out of it if they do not like it. That does not make any sense to me.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for that information.

I would like to begin by saying that I am not a big fan of the Winnipeg Jets, unlike my colleague who spoke before me. I must admit, however, that after their win last night, knowing they are the only Canadian team still left in the running for the Stanley Cup, I was actually happy for them. It would be great to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada, hockey being our national sport and all. That is the end of my comments on hockey. Let us get back to Bill C-49.

Mr. Speaker, you said I will not have my entire speaking time before question period. I want you to know right away that I have deliberately chosen not to use all of my time, if only for the sake of consistency when we are talking about the urgent need for action, while the Liberals insist on just talking.

This is about consistency, and I hope there is also some symbolic value here, since one cannot speak from both sides of one's mouth at the same time. One cannot suggest, as I did with my motion here this morning, to return Bill C-49 for royal assent as soon as possible by accepting the two minor amendments that remained out of the ones proposed by the Senate and, at the same time, launch into these endless, long-winded speeches on a bill that will have a real impact on the ground for those who are waiting for this to be resolved, one way or another.

I would like the Hansard to reflect the reasons why senators are insisting on these two amendments to which the Liberal government has unfortunately closed the door.

The message is that the House respectfully refuses the amendments, but I fail to see any respect in all this, except perhaps for the wording of the message. What did the senators send us as justification for insisting on these two small amendments?

I will read their reasoning, not only because I agree with it, but also because I believe that it is important to put it on the record. Why was the Senate so emphatic about its amendment? Let me quote the Senate:

That the reasons for the Senate’s insistence on its amendment 7(c) be:

“because all regions of Canada should be treated equally, with fairness and respect. ...because shippers in the Maritimes will continue to have access to other shipper remedies in the Act. As the proposer of the Senate amendment pointed out in committee, this is unfair for the maritime region, since there are roads and therefore other modes of transportation in areas like Prince Rupert and northern Quebec where an exemption is provided.”

The House no doubt knows that NDP members are not huge fans of the Senate, and especially an unelected Senate, but since this is the way things are for now, I must recognize a job well done.

It is not true that the only job of an opposition party or member is to oppose everything, all the time. I remind members that an opposition member's job is not to oppose everything, but to point out things that could be improved in a bill, to make it as close to perfect as possible. Every bill can be improved upon, and the government that sets the legislative agenda should be open to amendments that make sense. These amendments did not pop up out of nowhere. They are the result of discussions with experts in House committees and parliamentary committees.

I want to talk about another reason why the Senate asked and insisted that its amendment no. 8 be recognized, and I say “asked” because we now know that this request has been denied. I want to share the following quote from the Senate:

That the reasons for the Senate’s insistence on its amendment 8 be:

“because this amendment entitles a shipper to obtain a determination of the railway’s cost of transporting its goods to assist an arbitrator in final offer arbitration to determine whether to select the offer of the carrier or the shipper. By declaring that final offer arbitration is a commercially based process and not cost-based, the House of Commons has removed that entitlement from the shipper;”.

That explanation is as clear as can be, and it is indisputable. Anyone who has negotiated a contract or a collective agreement under arbitration knows that the parties are more likely to reach a fair agreement when there is a balance of power. If Bill C-49 makes that impossible, it is obvious which party stands to benefit the most. The purpose of the amendment was to restore a level playing field and ensure that the arbitrator making the final decision will have the tools to make an informed decision in the event that the process does come to fruition. Even that idea was rejected by the Liberal government.

In light of this morning's decision to reject the amendments, it is once again very clear that the Liberal government is always trying to cozy up to big business, which I imagine can be very generous when it is time to fill the campaign coffers. I suppose I could be wrong, but I will leave it up to everyone to observe the political game-playing. Later today, we will be debating Bill C-76, which is about new election rules. There again we will see how the Liberals want voters to make decisions based on money instead of the various parties' development philosophies. I will have more to say about Bill C-76 later. I will leave it at that for now.

I quoted the Senate's explanations so that they appear in the Hansard, but since I have a few minutes left, I would like to point out everything that this bill does not do. The matter of contracts is urgent, but so is the development of a passengers' bill of rights, which air travellers have been waiting for for years. In the previous Parliament, the NDP tabled a document—it was not even a bill—that sought to examine the possibility of putting regulations in place before the next election as the minister saw fit, but I would be willing to bet that the Liberals will wait until just a few months before the 2019 election is called to introduce the passengers' bill of rights.

It is clear that this government is not here to serve its constituents but to further its election strategy. Meanwhile, all this time, Canadians have been waiting for a real passengers' bill of rights that would ensure that they are compensated in situations like the one we saw here in Ottawa with Air Transat only a year ago. The passengers' bill of rights is also long overdue. When Bill C-49 finally receives royal assent, we will still not have a passengers' bill of rights. All we will have is the first step in a process to develop a bill of rights in the future.

Bill C-49 is absolutely unbelievable. If the Liberals wanted to take quick action on grain transportation, they could have done so. Let us remember that, at the beginning of the process, we proposed dividing Bill C-49 to quickly examine the aspects that addressed grain transportation, but this government refused to do that. We also proposed to extend the measures taken by the previous Conservative government so that farmers would not be left in limbo when the temporary measures ended and before Bill C-49 came into effect.

There are many causes for concern with this bill, and we cannot understand why the Liberal government is not more open to the amendments that are being proposed.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, I do not want to use all of my speaking time, for the sake of consistency and for symbolic reasons. I believe that the debate on Bill C-49 has gone on long enough. It is perfectly clear that the Liberal government is sticking to its guns and showing no signs of openness. It even disapproved of the motion we wanted to move this morning to agree with the two small amendments from the Senate.

I will stop here, even though I know you are not asking me to. Getting a parliamentarian to stop talking is no small feat. I will therefore do it myself for the sake of consistency. I am at the House's disposal to answer any questions about Bill C-49. If there are no questions after my speech, we will show to all those on the ground who are waiting for this bill to be passed and receive royal assent that we, on this side, are doing everything we can to be consistent, while considering both the urgent need to pass this bill and the conditions that need to be put in place for this legislation to receive royal assent as soon as possible.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières, who has done a great job on the issue of VIA Rail's high-frequency rail project in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, just like I have in the Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier region.

To show how urgent this matter is, I will not be asking my colleague any questions. I just wanted to commend him on his speech.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 11th, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, the recorded division on Bill C-49, transportation modernization act, consideration of a motion respecting Senate amendments, be deferred until Tuesday, May 22, at the expiry of the time provided for oral questions.

Transportation Modernization ActRoutine Proceedings

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been discussion among the parties, and if you seek it I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, when no Member rises to speak on the motion relating to Senate amendments to Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, or at 1pm this day, whichever comes first, every question necessary to dispose of the said stage of the said Bill shall be deemed put, and a recorded division deemed requested and that the division not be deferred.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
See context

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

moved:

That a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, the House:

agrees with amendments 2, 7(a) and 10(b) made by the Senate;

respectfully disagrees with amendments 1(a)(i), 1(b), 5(a)(i), 5(b) because the issues raised by the amendments are addressed in the bill or by existing legislation;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 1(a)(ii) because this would affect the Minister’s ability to issue a decision on an application for a joint venture within the timelines set forth in the bill;

respectfully disagrees with amendments 3 and 4 because the passenger rights will be established in regulation by the Canada Transportation Agency, as opposed to the airlines, and will automatically be incorporated into an airline tariff for the benefit of the passenger, and furthermore, Bill C-49 does not preclude third party advocates from filing complaints on the content of terms and conditions of tariffs they find unreasonable;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 5(a)(ii) because Bill C-49 mandates new regulations that would specify carriers’ obligations or standards of treatment of passengers for any delays, including a tarmac delay, as well as specific obligations for tarmac delays of more than three hours;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 5(a)(iii) because further study and consultation with concerned parties, including the federal agencies responsible for official languages, the Official Languages Commissioner and the industry stakeholders are required to better understand the economic implications and competitiveness on the Canadian air sector;

proposes that amendment 6 be amended by replacing the text of subsection (1.01) and (1.1) with the following “(1.1) For the purpose of an investigation conducted under subsection (1), the Agency shall allow a company at least 20 days to file an answer and at least 10 days for a complainant to file a reply. (1.11) The Agency may, with the authorization of the Minister and subject to any terms and conditions that the Minister considers appropriate, of its own motion, conduct an investigation to determine whether a railway company is fulfilling its service obligations. The Agency shall conduct the investigation as expeditiously as possible and make its determination within 90 days after the investigation begins.”;

proposes that amendment 7(b) be amended by replacing the text with the following text “in Canada that is in the reasonable direction of the shipper`s traffic and its destination;”;

in order to keep the intent of the Senate amendment 7(b), proposes to add the following amendment to Clause 95, subsection (5), page 64, by replacing line 8 with the following “km of an interchange in Canada that is in the reasonable direction of the shipper`s traffic and its destination”;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 7(c) because shippers in the Maritimes will continue to have access to other shipper remedies in the Act;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 8 because the final offer arbitration is not intended to be a cost-based remedy but rather a commercially-based process to settle a dispute during a negotiation of a confidential commercial contract;

proposes that amendment 9 be amended by replacing the text of the amendment with the following text “59.1 (1) Schedule II to the Act is amended by replacing “Bean (except soybean) derivatives (flour, protein, isolates, fibre)” with “Bean (including soybean) derivatives (flour, protein, isolates, fibre)”. (2) Schedule II to the Act is amended by replacing “Beans (except soybeans), including faba beans, splits and screenings” with “Beans, including soybeans, faba beans, splits and screenings”. (3) Schedule II to the Act is amended by adding, in alphabetical order, “Meal, soybean”, “Meal, oil cake, soybean”, “Oil, soybean” and “Oil cake, soybean”.”;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 10(a) because it would significantly impact the ability of railways to ensure the safety of railway operations.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:20 a.m.
See context

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount Québec

Liberal

Marc Garneau LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are here today to discuss Bill C-49, the transportation modernization act, which was passed by the Senate, with amendments, on March 29, 2018. I would like to thank the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications for its dedicated study and thorough review of the bill, which led to a total of 27 amendments being proposed, of which 18 were carried.

The committee heard important testimonials from over 70 witnesses during 23 hours of hearings. The committee also received valued submissions from many other stakeholders during its diligent study of the bill. While there have been some differences of opinion, we have also heard how important this bill, as a whole, is to our economy, to the transportation system, and to Canadians. The government wishes to thank all stakeholders who actively contributed to the study of Bill C-49 and helped to highlight its benefits and importance to the Canadian transportation system.

Many groups spoke in support of this legislation, including but not limited to the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, which testified to how pleased it was with Bill C-49, including its transparency and fair access provisions; the Canadian Association of Railway Suppliers, which stated during its testimony that it believes Bill C-49 would encourage investment in the grain handling system; the Alberta Wheat Commission, which elaborated on the strong support Bill C-49 has among its 14,000 members; the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which explained that the bill outlines clear and consistent standards of treatment and compensation for all air carriers; Metrolinx, which explained, on the subject of LVVR, that the bill strikes a balance between privacy and safety; and others, such as Alberta Wheat, Alberta Barley, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Grain Growers of Canada, Cereals Canada, and Soy Canada. Views such as these contribute to making Bill C-49 a transformational piece of legislation that strengthens Canada's transportation system.

The Senate's amendments touch on the different areas of the bill, and the government has taken the time to carefully review each proposed amendment.

The government supports the following two amendments. The first has to do with loosening foreign ownership restrictions and the reference to interests owned directly or indirectly. One of the bill's main objectives is to clarify things for air carriers and passengers. That is why we support the Bill C-49 amendment about foreign ownership of air carriers. The proposed amendment clarifies restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian air carriers by individuals or international air carriers.

The second amendment we support has to do with locomotive voice and video recorders and adding the notion of destruction. Although the notion of destruction of information is implicit in the notion of preservation as set out in this clause, the amendment would further clarify the regulatory authority. This will address any concerns about making sure the regulations provide for the destruction of information once companies are no longer required to preserve it. This amendment is acceptable as passed because it makes the clause clearer.

The government also supports, with amendments, three other amendments.

The first is called “own motion”. It is important to recognize that the freight rail measures in Bill C-49 currently strike a delicate balance between the needs of shippers and those of railways. Any changes must be carefully considered in order to ensure that this balance, and the long-term economic viability of the rail network, is maintained. That said, we have heard the calls from shippers of different commodities across the country about the need for the Canadian Transportation Agency to be able to conduct investigations into rail service issues on its own motion.

That is why we are proposing an amendment that would expand the agency's existing complaint-based authority to investigate rail service issues by providing it with a new authority to investigate systemic rail service issues without a formal complaint, subject to the authorization of the Minister of Transport. This would give the agency new powers to investigate and address service issues for multiple shippers at once, while retaining an appropriate level of oversight by the government.

The second Senate amendment we accept, with amendment, is the direction of traffic for long-haul interswitching. The government recognizes that the efficiency of shipments by rail is critical to bringing grains and all other commodities and goods to market. In recognition of the specific needs of captive shippers, such as those in the mining sector, Bill C-49 includes a new remedy, long-haul interswitching, which was designed specifically to provide them with competitive alternatives and better rates and service.

LHI, as we call it, would provide captive shippers with access to an alternative carrier, with the rate for the regulated movement, of up to 1,200 kilometres, being determined by the Canadian Transportation Agency, based on comparable traffic. This new remedy would be efficient and effective, with the agency conducting all the necessary work and analysis and issuing a decision within 30 business days. This remedy would help ensure that captive Canadian shippers continue to be globally competitive, with access to competitive rail services at the lowest freight rates in the world.

To further improve this remedy, the government is accepting the Senate amendment concerning the direction of traffic for long-haul interswitching movements, with minor changes. These amendments would help ensure that shippers located within 30 kilometres of an interchange or served by another railway are not excluded from accessing LHI if the railway or interchange is not in the reasonable direction of the movement of their traffic.

Not only is this bill supported by a wide array of stakeholders, but it would offer many benefits for all rail shippers, including those that are captive. We are committed to working with all shippers to ensure that these benefits are properly understood by all, and that they are used to the fullest extent possible in order to strengthen their negotiation leverage with the railways and hold them fully accountable for the quality of the service they provide.

Third, there is the addition of soybeans to the MRE, or maximum revenue entitlement. As another example of our government's continued support for Canadian farmers, and the agricultural sector more generally, we are accepting, with some modifications, the Senate's amendment of adding soybeans to the maximum revenue entitlement. The modifications would ensure that soybeans and their related by-products would benefit from the advantages of moving under the maximum revenue entitlement.

Recognizing the importance of ensuring that this bill strikes the right balance, the government is unable to support the remaining amendments proposed by the Senate.

In the area of freight rail, the first is long-haul interswitching in the Maritimes. While we understand the concerns of captive shippers in the Maritimes, we must also ensure the continued viability of the eastern rail network and fluidity through the Montreal area. While we do not intend to expand LHI to enable captive shippers in the Maritimes to access the remedy in Montreal, this bill would make significant improvements to existing remedies that would benefit these shippers.

In addition, Bill C-49 contains a number of other measures affecting marine transportation that should be particularly helpful for shippers in Atlantic Canada, including the liberalization of the rules regarding the repositioning of empty shipping containers, as well as amendments to the Canada Marine Act to permit port authorities and their wholly owned subsidiaries to receive loans and loan guarantees from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

As well, we could not accept final offer arbitration based on cost. This bill seeks to strike a careful and effective balance between the interests of railways and those of shippers, and we believe it does just that. The existing Canada Transportation Act provides shippers with a commercially based final offer arbitration process to settle a dispute during a negotiation of a confidential commercial contract with a railway.

FOA is intended to establish a market-based rather than a cost-based rate. As part of this process, an arbitrator is already allowed to request technical assistance, including costing and legal assistance, from the Canadian Transportation Agency. There is nothing in the act that obligates the arbitrator to seek the consent of railways for such assistance. The arbitrator can hold any failure on the part of the railways to disclose information against the railway when making a final decision.

Bill C-49 benefits shippers in many ways, including enabling the minister to publicize aggregated freight rail information that will help shippers in their commercial negotiations with the railways, and lessening the need to access remedies such as the FOA. Through this bill, shippers, including captive shippers, are offered many alternative remedies such as LHI, reciprocal financial penalties, shortened timelines for agency decisions, and access to improved informal dispute resolution mechanisms. All of these will respond to shipper needs and concerns for greater access, more transparency, and increased accountability.

In the airline sector, with respect to the amendments relating to the provisions of the bill on air transportation, we do not agree with the amendment to the provision relating to people affected and air passenger rights.

The government does not support the amendments proposed to the provision relating to passengers likely to file a complaint if they feel that an airline has not properly taken their rights into account. These passengers are designated by the expression “person affected” in the bill. Although Bill C-49 refers to the fact that only a person affected may file a complaint, I would like to point out that this does not prevent the passenger from asking for assistance from third party advocates to support his or her complaint.

Furthermore, organizations that represent Canadians or promote improved air service on their behalf will still be able to play that role, by challenging the contents of tariffs they find unreasonable.

On issues relating to the transportation of human remains, the government does not support the amendment aimed at developing airline policies concerning the transportation of human remains. Given that this information is already included in an airline's tariff, such a provision would be redundant.

industryThe government developed a proposal to address tarmac delays that takes into account international best practices and the industry's operational realities. By “industry”, I mean airports and air carriers. Our approach not only sets clear, standardized requirements for all air carriers, but it will also apply specific standards of treatment to tarmac delays, regardless of the length of delay, and will require that passengers be disembarked following a three-hour delay.

Furthermore, there is no need to provide for a review of the passenger rights in this bill after three years. The bill already includes provisions requiring that the Canadian Transportation Agency produce an annual report on the number of complaints received, as well as performance indicators to assess how air carriers are complying with the passenger rights regime.

The Official Languages Act regulates compliance with official language obligations, and this act is the responsibility of Canadian Heritage and the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Naturally, Transport Canada continues to support Canada's two official languages, and this includes requiring that the regulations of Bill C-49 and all announcements regarding aircraft safety be in both official languages, but the scope of the proposed amendment exceeds the scope of the authorities in this act.

With regard to joint ventures, we think that Bill C-49's approach to the voluntary joint venture approval process strikes a fair balance between competitiveness and the public interest. I would like to remind my colleagues in the House that we agreed to an amendment proposed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities following its in-depth study of the bill. That amendment deals with the publication of the transport minister's decisions regarding implementation. The amendment already guarantees that the process will be transparent. Similarly, the Senate amendment providing that a review of joint ventures must be conducted every two years, creates an overlap because the minister already has the authority to review joint ventures as he or she sees fit. Moreover, it is not necessary to define the concept of public interest because, under Bill C-49, guidelines that set out the factors to be considered must be developed jointly with the Competition Bureau.

With regard to voice and video recorders on locomotives, the government does not support the proposed amendment to prevent companies from proactively using the data from these recorders. The central purpose of the recorder regime is safety. The amendment in question would considerably reduce the safety benefits of recorders. A 2016 report from the Transportation Safety Board showed the benefits of using data from recorders to proactively identify and mitigate risks.

Finally, while the government cannot support these amendments, we recognize the thoroughness of the review of the bill conducted by the Senate, and the special care that senators took in proposing these amendments. I would like to thank the Senate and the many witnesses who took the time to prepare submissions or to appear before the Senate committee for their valuable contribution to the legislative process.

The performance of Canada's transportation system is critical to the overall well-being of Canadians and our trade-dependent economy. We need to help to ensure that the system is best positioned to meet the demands of the economy so we can keep Canada's travellers and trade moving efficiently and safely today and in the future. This is precisely what we are proposing to do with Bill C-49.

To further strengthen this bill, the government is proposing to accept five well-articulated Senate amendments which would significantly reinforce the objectives of this bill. I mentioned that this is in addition to the nine very good amendments that came to us from the House Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. The robust due diligence and hard work of senators and members of Parliament will help to ensure the continued viability, efficiency, and safety of the Canadian transportation system.

Most important, as requested by a large number of Canadian shippers, the passage of this legislation would establish new “own motion” powers for the Canadian Transportation Agency, ensuring that shippers will be able to benefit from a stronger, more accountable freight rail transportation legislative framework. In terms of rail freight, the swift passage of this bill would enable much needed contingency planning, more comprehensive data, and new powerful remedies for the sector, helping to avoid a repeat of the issues experienced this year.

This bill would also increase the safety of the transportation system, as well as ensure the security of all those who utilize it. This bill would additionally ensure the implementation of world-leading passenger rights for air travellers, bringing Canadian transportation into the 21st century.

The resulting legislative package has been carefully crafted to achieve a fair, balanced, and safe transportation system that will establish the conditions for the success of the many players involved, while supporting a strong and prosperous economy.

The testimony heard from witnesses from all over Canada made one thing very clear, that the passage of this legislation must be a top priority for the government.

I am seeking the support of the House to vote in favour of this government motion. This will, in turn, expedite the passage of the bill to the Senate once again for its consideration and approval.