CP Rail Files Lawsuit Regarding Bill C-30; Says Interswitching Changes Made With “Errors of Law”

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) has filed a lawsuit against the Government of Canada, appealing changes to rail regulations brought forward in Bill C-30 — The Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act.

CP Rail names the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Attorney General of Canada in the suit, which was filed with the Federal Court of Appeals on August 29th. A CP Rail spokesperson refused to comment on the case, but court documents filed state that the appeal surrounds what CP Rail calls “four errors of law,” all specifically regarding the changes to interswitching.

The suit claims the government “abused its discretion” and “exceeded its jurisdiction” in making changes to the interswitching rules, which compels railways to move cars from competing railways. The suit also says the Agency “lost or exceeded its jurisdiction as a result of a seriously defective process used in making Extended Switching Regulations.”

CP Rail claims in its suit that the interswitching demands will cost the company more than $13 million per year in added operation and administrative costs and will make the logistics of moving grain harder, not easier, exposing the company to level of service complaints.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said, as an official comment, that: “Our Government introduced and passed legislation unanimously through Parliament that put into place clear and achievable solutions to ensure grain and other commodities move efficiently to market. By extending the interswitching limit from 30 kilometres to 160 kilometres across the Prairies for all commodities, we are giving shippers access to greater rail competition.”

Ritz says that his government will “fully defend farmers and all shippers to ensure that our economy is well served by Canada’s rail logistics system.”

“Our Government is hopeful that CP and all members of the rail logistics supply chain will embrace being part of the solution as opposed to being entrenched in the problems of the past,” Ritz says.

Related: More details on the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act can be found here

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