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Under section 128 of the Canada Transportation Act (Act) the Canadian Transportation Agency (Agency) may make regulations prescribing terms and conditions for the interswitching of traffic, as well as determine the rate per car to be charged for performing this operation and to establish distance zones for that purpose. The interswitching provisions of the Act are considered to be competitive access provisions, allowing the shipper to choose their “line haul” carrier while having direct access to only one carrier.
The proposed amendments have been pre-published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. Pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette, the official newspaper of the Government of Canada, gives all interested groups and individuals a final opportunity to review and comment on the proposed amendments at the last stages of the regulation-making process, before they are enacted and published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.
The proposed regulatory changes are part of the five-year statutory review of the interswitching rates and practices required under subsection 128(5) of the CTA, which provides that the Agency shall review the Railway Interswitching Regulations when warranted and at least once every five years.
To further the development of the proposed amendments, the Agency undertook broad consultations in 2007 and 2010. The aim of the consultations was to obtain input from stakeholders, including shippers, railway companies, industry experts, and representatives of provincial governments, before drafting amendments to the regulations.
Based on this review, the Agency determined that its methodology for the development of interswitching costs requires updating to ensure that the resulting interswitching rates more accurately reflect the costs incurred by the railway companies in performing interswitching operations. The changes included:
- an increase in the level of contribution towards railway fixed costs;
- some changes in the calculation of railway variable costs; and,
- a clarification of how movements made under co-production agreements and irregular operating practices are treated.
Stakeholders and other interested parties have until July 30, 2012, to review the proposed amendments and to provide their comments and feedback. To review the proposed amendments and to find out how to comment, please visit Part I of the Canada Gazette.