Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Transportation Act Amendments

The Parliamentary Information and Research Service of the Library of Parliament has just released its legislative summary of Bill C-11, an Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act:

"Bill C-11 proposes to add a new provision in Part III of the CTA [Transportation Act] that permits the Minister to enter into an agreement with a provincial authority to authorize the latter to regulate the construction, operation and safety of a federally regulated railway as well as the rates and conditions of service in the same manner and to the same extent as it may regulate a railway within its jurisdiction; this provision was not included in Bill C-44"

"(...) The House Committee [House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities] amendment that has generated the most controversy is one related to the authorities of the Canadian Transportation Agency (“the Agency”) in clause 7. The House Committee voted to accept an amendment that gives the Agency additional authorities to mediate or arbitrate disputes relating to any railway matter under Part III or Part IV of the Act, or to the application of rates or charges levied by the railways, if requested to do so by all parties to the dispute, even if the matter is outside of the Agency’s jurisdiction. This particular amendment has provoked a negative reaction from some rail shippers".

Also significant were House Committee amendments regarding:
"(...) The Minister of Transport’s requirement to report on the state of transportation in Canada (clause 11). The House Committee amendment requires the Minister to table a brief overview on the state of transportation in Canada on an annual basis and to expand the report into a comprehensive review every five years".

"(...) Guidelines respecting the information parties to a transportation merger must provide to the Minister of Transport (clause 13). As a result of a House Committee amendment, the Minister is obliged to issue and publish guidelines, which will be elaborated in consultation with the Competition Bureau, respecting information the parties to the proposed merger will be required to provide regarding the public interest impact of the transaction".

"(...) The assumption of the Air Travel Complaints Commissioner’s role and duties by the Agency (clause 25). An amendment by the House Committee requires the Agency, as part of its annual report, to provide information on the number and nature of air travel complaints filed".

"Regulations respecting the advertising of airfares for travel within, or originating in, Canada (clause 27). The House Committee amended the provision to oblige the Agency to make such regulations rather than allow the Agency discretion in the matter".

"Provisions relating to railway noise (clause 29). The House Committee made a number of amendments the bill in order to hold railway companies to a stricter standard with respect to the impacts of railway operations on adjacent communities than the one proposed in the first reading version of this bill".

The bill is now in front of a Senate committee.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:39 pm


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