On June 25, 2014, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport launched a statutory Review of the Canada Transportation Act. The Act is the umbrella economic legislation for Canada’s national transportation system.

The mandate of this Review stems from section 53 of the Canada Transportation Act (PDF version) which requires a comprehensive review of the operation of the Act and certain other acts pertaining to the economic regulation of transportation. The Review will be guided by the Terms of Reference which establish the scope for the Review. These follow:

Given the urgency created by the recent backlog in grain deliveries from the 2013-14 crop year, grain transportation will be given priority consideration. The Review will consider the provisions of the Act that are relevant to the transportation of grain by rail, some of which could apply more broadly to the rail-based supply chain for all commodities, taking into account the broader goal of a commercially based, market-driven, multi-modal transportation system that delivers the best possible service in support of economic growth and prosperity.

The Review will also examine the extent to which the national transportation system has the capacity and adaptability that will allow it, and its users, to respond effectively to evolving international and domestic conditions and markets. This will include examining major global and national trends relevant to transportation; projecting freight capacity needs across the system; examining whether existing or planned capacity and performance improvements will be responsive to these needs and periodic demands for surge capacity; and advising on possible steps to help ensure that the national transportation system has the capacity and nimbleness to support economic activity across all sectors over the medium- and long-term.

Finally, the Review will be asked to give consideration to a number of specific issues, including:

  • whether adjustments to the current transportation legislative and policy framework are required to support Canada’s international competitiveness, trade interests, and economic growth and prosperity;

  • how strategic transportation gateways and corridors can be developed and leveraged to support Canadian prosperity through linkages to global markets;

  • how the quality and utilization of transportation infrastructure capacity can be optimized through, for example, improved alignment of transportation policies and regulations and/or the use of innovative financing mechanisms;

  • how technological innovation can contribute to improvements in transportation infrastructure and services;

  • whether adjustments to transportation safety and environmental regimes are needed to continue achieving high standards for safe and sustainable transportation, given increasing system volumes/demands;

  • how safety and well-being concerns related to rail transportation (including the movement of dangerous goods) through communities can be addressed;

  • how to address rapid changes in the North and associated challenges for the continued safety, security, and sustainability of the northern transportation system, and specifically, the federal role in supporting the northern transportation system;

  • how federally-regulated passenger rail services can be delivered to meet travellers’ needs while minimizing costs to the public purse;

  • how the vitality of the Canadian aviation sector, air connectivity, and Canada’s ability to attract visitors and transiting travellers can be maintained and augmented in light of the range of cost factors and competitive global markets; and

  • whether current governance and service delivery models for key federal operations, assets and agencies -- including the Canadian Transportation Agency, Canadian Pilotage Authorities, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and airport and port authorities -- can be improved.

Further details on these and related subjects to be considered by the Review may be provided by the Minister to the Chair, and may be supplemented or clarified from time to time at the Minister's discretion.

The Review will be conducted at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. The Chair will be responsible for submitting a report to the Minister of Transport, which will include findings and recommendations, no later than 18 months after his appointment.

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