Feds table amendments to Canada Transportation Act

by Canadian Shipper

OTTAWA, ON- Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre has tabled amendments to the Canada Transportation Act in the House of Commons. The proposed amendments focus on achieving a balance between the interests of consumers, shippers and communities, and those of air carriers and rail carriers, while also addressing the governance regimes for international bridges and tunnels, the Canadian Transportation Agency and VIA Rail.

The Canada Transportation Act came into effect in 1996 to modernize the transportation legislative framework and create the Canadian Transportation Agency, in place of the National Transportation Agency.

“These amendments address key long-term transportation issues in Canada,” said Lapierre. “They will improve the efficiency of the rail and air sectors, enhance competition, help protect the environment and provide a stable framework for investment.”

The proposed amendments include:

-A new, modernized and simplified National Transportation Policy Statement;

-New provisions on approval and regulation of international bridges and tunnels;

-A new provision authorizing the Canadian Transportation Agency, on the recommendation of the Minister, to regulate greater transparency in the advertisement of air fares;

-Improvements to, and expansion of, the recourses available to rail shippers, while maintaining the existing running rights provisions;

-Improvements to the policy framework for publicly funded passenger rail services that will help address urban transportation challenges;

-A public interest review process for mergers and acquisitions of all federally regulated transportation services;

-A provision allowing the Canadian Transportation Agency to address railway noise complaints;

-A legislative framework to consolidate the current powers of VIA Rail Canada;

-A reduction in the number of members of the Canadian Transportation Agency, and the integration of the air travel complaints functions into its normal business;

-The addition of security to the list of purposes for which transportation data can be collected, the identification of transportation stakeholders and parties from whom data can be collected, the extension of reporting and reviewing periods; and

-The transfer of the legislative arrangements for railway police from the Canada Transportation Act to the Railway Safety Act.

During the development of these amendments, Transport Canada held wide-ranging consultations with other federal departments; provincial and territorial governments; concerned agencies; and stakeholders.

“These measures represent the culmination of extensive consultation and reflect the substantial contributions made by stakeholders from across the country and across transportation sectors,” said Lapierre. “They set out a clear course and strike the right balance for our transportation system so it is better able to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges of the future.”

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