Evidence of meeting #69 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was c-49.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Cam Dahl  President, Cereals Canada
Bob Masterson  President and Chief Executive Officer, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
Jeff Nielsen  President, Grain Growers of Canada
Kara Edwards  Director, Transportation, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
Fiona Cook  Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada
Pierre Gratton  President and Chief Executive Officer, Mining Association of Canada
Joel Neuheimer  Vice-President, International Trade and Transportation and Corporate Secretary, Forest Products Association of Canada
Karen Kancens  Director, Policy and Trade Affairs, Shipping Federation of Canada
Brad Johnston  General Manager, Logistics and Planning, Teck Resources Limited
Sonia Simard  Director, Legislative Affairs, Shipping Federation of Canada
Gordon Harrison  President, Canadian National Millers Association
Jack Froese  President, Canadian Canola Growers Association
Steve Pratte  Policy Manager, Canadian Canola Growers Association
François Tougas  Lawyer, McMillan LLP, As an Individual
James Given  President, Seafarers' International Union of Canada
Sarah Clark  Chief Executive Officer, Fraser River Pile & Dredge (GP) Inc.
Jean-Philippe Brunet  Executive Vice-President, Corporate and Legal Affairs, Ocean
Martin Fournier  Executive Director, St. Lawrence Shipoperators
Mike McNaney  Vice-President, Industry, Corporate and Airport Affairs, WestJet Airlines Ltd.
Lucie Guillemette  Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer, Air Canada
Marina Pavlovic  Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, As an Individual
David Rheault  Senior Director, Government Affairs and Community Relations, Air Canada
Lorne Mackenzie  Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs, WestJet Airlines Ltd.

10:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Bob Masterson

In our case I think it's difficult to say what the impacts will be. What we have said is that there's a lot of ambiguity there. We believe that if we want to realize the intent we should remove that ambiguity and tighten things up as much as possible.

At a minimum, if the committee decides it needs to move the bill forward as is, we're looking for a very strong and short timeline for review. Within two to three years at the most, we should be able to look back and ask, “Do we have the right information? Are we making better decisions? Is there better balance between shippers and carriers?” That has to be a formal requirement to review these provisions in the event that they cannot be strengthened as recommended by the various parties.

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Thank you very much.

Just going back to your comment, Mr. Nielsen, about our being in week six or seven of the shipping season, I would like to hear you expand on what the implications are in regard to what is available to our shippers, our producers, right now in negotiating those contracts.

10:50 a.m.

President, Grain Growers of Canada

Jeff Nielsen

I'm not sure about negotiating contracts, but I'm just thinking now that the Agriculture Transportation Coalition does a weekly roundup of what cars have been available to the grain companies on certain train runs. Right now, both railroads are sitting at the low nineties. Right now they have a pretty good rating as far as supplying cars on time to certain facilities is concerned.

The concern is that as winter progresses, and if there are some delays in getting products to certain corridors, we will see that spread. Throughout last year we saw maybe one ranging around 80%, the other one ranging around 70%. That is where we saw the delays.

If you're only supplying 70% of your cars on time in a certain period of time, it is then that there's a backlog, and that's when it starts to snowball. That's when we get all the delays. That's when we'll get demurrage at the west coast or demurrage at Thunder Bay or wherever. We just need to speed this along.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

What I would follow up on with the time I have left is the observation you made, Mr. Masterson, about building into this bill a provision to review the impacts of any of the amendments being suggested or that have been made in the introduction of this bill. The recommendation was made yesterday by one of our witnesses to include that in this bill. They noted there wasn't one in the bill.

Have you made that formal recommendation in your submission to...?

10:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Okay. Thank you very much.

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Mr. Aubin.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

My next question is for Ms. Edwards, but other witnesses who would like to add a few words should feel free to do so.

Earlier, you talked about the transportation of dangerous goods. You told us that trucks were not really an option, although they were used in some cases. Their use was completely prohibited in other cases, since trains were safer.

Do you think the Canada Transportation Act should contain a section specifically dedicated to the transportation of dangerous goods?

10:55 a.m.

Director, Transportation, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Kara Edwards

I think that the transportation of dangerous goods is adequately regulated through the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. There is a very good relationship among industry, government, and all stakeholders involved in keeping those regulations up to date and responsive to the needs and interests of communities, government, and industry. I think it's being appropriately regulated through the TDGA at the moment.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Thank you.

Bill C-49 introduces what I call reciprocal penalties. That may be a step in the right direction.

Do those penalties seem symbolic or are they sufficiently robust to change the balance of power in contract negotiations?

10:55 a.m.

President, Cereals Canada

Cam Dahl

This is something that will be subject, of course, to contractual negotiations between shippers and carriers. Yes, I do anticipate that they will be robust enough.

10:55 a.m.

President, Grain Growers of Canada

Jeff Nielsen

I guess this goes back to Ms. Block's comment too. If we have a contract in place—this is between the shipper and the grain company, or to the end-user or the customer—and the grain company has the guarantee it wants that it will get the product to export position and that there is a reciprocal penalty in place if it doesn't, that hopefully will filter through to better service, if a few of these incidents happen.

We don't want to see them happen. We just want better service.

10:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada

Bob Masterson

I'd just add that it will depend, and that's why we've made the recommendations we have to remove some of the ambiguity. You need the data and information.

In a case such as ours, you need it on a.... What happens with grain movement is irrelevant to chemical movements. We need data for our own industry and our own sector to help us decide whether we had adequate service. Then you're back to the question of whether we have enough clarity on adequate and appropriate levels of service.

If those continue to be grey areas and we lack the data, it becomes very difficult to find the means to impose reciprocity, if all you're doing is argue before the different boards and hearings about whether you were harmed or not.

I think, again, that the job of this committee is to hear what the stakeholders have said and to look to remove as much ambiguity as we can now, so that we don't take up government's time further down the road. Let's get it right at this point.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Thank you.

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Now we have about a minute or two left. Is there anyone who has a pertinent outstanding question that they would like to get an answer to when we have such a great panel?

Mr. Badawey.

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I just want to go back to what Mr. Hardie was asking and trying to drill down on, and Ms. Cook, you alluded to it. That's data, information.

Can you be more specific in terms of what exactly you're looking for in terms of that data?

September 13th, 2017 / 11 a.m.

Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada

Fiona Cook

Again, it's asking the railroads what their plans are, as is done in the U.S. The Surface Transportation Board asks the class 1 railways to set out their plans for the upcoming year. Again, it's having an idea system-wide—and this goes back to Mr. Masterson's point, too—of all of the players that depend on the rail supply chain. What is the actual availability of rail capacity at a given point in time? It's not an easy question, but you need data.

11 a.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

It's not necessarily proprietary.

11 a.m.

Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada

11 a.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

You're just looking for data to, again, enable you to do your business better.

11 a.m.

Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada

Fiona Cook

It's to make decisions based on timely information, exactly.

11 a.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

And it's efficient.

11 a.m.

Executive Director, Grain Growers of Canada

11 a.m.

Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Thank you.

11 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much to the witnesses. You could see this morning that everybody's very interested in all of your comments. We're doing the very best we can, as parliamentarians, with this piece of legislation.

Thank you very much for being here.

We will suspend now for the next panel.