Farm Groups Urge Federal Government To Seek Resolution To Rail Delays

Feb 19, 2020

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The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) says it's extremely concerned about the impacts that the ongoing rail blockades will have on Canadian farmers, their animals and Canadians who rely on the railway system for access to food and groceries.
The group notes these new interruptions come at the tail-end of what has been an incredibly difficult twelve months for farmers across the country, noting producers have been impacted harshly by destructive weather, unfounded product bans such as Canola and the previous rail strike during peak harvest times.
“Farmers were recently negatively affected by the CN rail strike during harvest season, which caused millions of dollars of losses," said CFA President Mary Robinson. "That strike showed us the importance the rail system plays in our everyday lives, not just for farmers but for all Canadians. There is a huge economic impact that goes along with any rail disruption, but it also affects the delivery of food, medical supplies and energy products that Canadians rely on every day."
CFA says these new blockades are once again hampering the ability for farmers to get their products to port, especially those in Western Canada.
The group adds that if rail service continues to be blockaded this will result in propane shortages in Eastern Canada, noting without access to propane shipments, there is a very real risk of animal welfare issues as many farmers use propane to heat their barns in the winter months.
“Interruptions in rail service amplifies the stress that farmers and rural communities are under, creating a huge amount of uncertainty in their day-to-day lives," added Robinson. "While the CFA respects the rights of Canadians to protest, we feel those protests should not endanger the health and livelihoods of other Canadians, especially when they have no part in the issues being protested. We hope that this situation can be resolved quickly so that the impacts on Canadians and Canadian farmers are not too severe.”
CFA is urging the Federal Government to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.
Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is also imploring the federal government to seek a resolution to the rail delays.
“These delays caused by the blockades will have immediate, unintended consequences for farmers across the country,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “As farmers, we work hard to grow the best crops for our markets around the world. By cutting us off from our customers our industry, economy, and, ultimately, our reputation as a reliable shipper is at risk.”
CGC says any delay may result in losing out on critical markets that purchase Canadian grains and oilseeds through eastern, western and southern corridors.
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