+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 6-07S

Importance of Rail to Producers and Processors

January 1, 2007
Expiry Date:
March 31, 2010
Active Status:
Vote Results:

WHEREAS the Alberta Government accepts the rail is an integral transporter of goods and services for the movement of product to and from destinations for economic activity; and WHEREAS the Alberta Government owns rail car fleets and sees rail as an important service to the citizens of Alberta for the transportation of products to and from markets; and WHEREAS economic growth only occurs and is sustainable if the infrastructure is there and accessible in a timely fashion;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal District and Counties request that Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation work with the rail industry to respond in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner in the delivery of goods in and out of Alberta; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Federal and Alberta Governments work to ensure that the rail companies have to provide timely, efficient and cost effective service to the citizens of Canada and the provinces; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alberta and Federal Governments ensure allocation of cars for the movement of agricultural products with no economic hardship to producers and processors; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alberta and Federal Governments conduct a review of CN operations with a view to providing more timely, efficient, and cost effective service to their customers as well as a review of their operations related to safety.

Member Background:

We believe that the rail system is engrained in the fabric of our province and country. We have seen a decline in service delivery with grain being left on the ground at elevator locations, contracts of industry not being filled because of the lack of cars in areas of need in a timely fashion, and the steady decline of the rail beds. We have no guarantee that the charges will stay at an affordable price for movement of product i.e., agricultural products. (The lack of competition has led to a decline in acceptable service). Producers and value added processors need to have a sustainable, affordable and timely response from rail companies to move products. The loss of elevators has already placed great strain on the road infrastructure the loss of any more rail lines will only exacerbate the problem. With the number of derailments CN has experienced it would be prudent for the Alberta and Federal Government to conduct a review of their operating procedures related to safety.

RMA Background:

From The AAMDC Advocacy Report Card: Winter 2007-At the 2003 Fall Convention, AAMDC members endorsed Resolution 44-03F Farmer Rail Car Coalition (FRCC) Support. This resolution calls for the AAMDC to ‘join to efforts of the [FRCC]’ which was subsequently accomplished when we became a member of the Coalition in December 2003.Since that time, the Association has been an active participant in FRCC activities and discussions. The current AAMDC representative on the FRCC board of directors is District 5 Director Bob Barss.On May 4, 2006, Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Lawrence Cannon, announced that the Government of Canada will retain ownership of its grain hopper car fleet thereby pulling out of a preliminary agreement to sell them to the FRCC.Since that time, the AAMDC through Director Bob Barss, has supported a set of recommendations developed by the FRCC. These recommendations were focused on urging the minister to ensure that western producers are not unduly harmed by the decision to pull out of the original agreement to sell the grain hopper fleet.We are awaiting a response to the recommendations which were sent in the Fall of 2006.


The Government of Alberta recognizes that there has been significant deterioration in rail service in Northern Alberta. The Minister of Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation has written to the federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities expressing concerns. Federal Bill C-58 to amend the Canada Transportation Act regarding railway transportation was given second reading on June 14, 2007 and sent to committee. However, it was reintroduced as Bill C-8 in October of 2007 in a new session of Parliament. Bill C-8 received Royal Assent on February 28, 2008. Similarly, Bill C-11 that made changes to reduce freight rates for grain by adjusting the amount railways received to maintain hopper cars was given Royal Assent on June 22, 2007. The Government of Alberta has also made a submission to the federal government on the Railway Safety Act. Major changes have been requested, including the need for better communication between municipal and provincial governments about incidents involving railways.

Provincial Ministries:
Agriculture and Rural Development,
Federal Ministries and Bodies:
Agriculture and Agri-Food
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