The House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (SCOT) has tabled an Interim Report on the establishment a transportation and logistics strategy for Canada, which contains 31 recommendations for increasing the efficiency of Canada’s major trade and transportation corridors.

The report is the result of a series of meetings the Committee held with a broad cross section of transportation users and stakeholders in Ottawa, Vancouver and the Niagara region.  The Federation appeared before the Committee on October 4, 2018, and we are pleased to note that a number of our comments and recommendations are contained in the Committee’s report (see pages 24, 27,31, 60, 64).

Of the Committee’s 31 recommendations, those that may be of particular interest include the following:

  • That the government seek to improve the efficiency of supply chains by deploying strategic technologies and infrastructure investments designed to eliminate bottlenecks along Canada’s trade and transportation corridors;
  • That the government work with CBSA to examine the challenges the Agency is facing in balancing the requirement for security at the border with the need to expedite the movement of goods and travellers between Canada and the rest of the world;
  • That Transport Canada publish comprehensive and regular reports about volumes, products, trends and other key indicators for each of Canada’s ports;
  • That the government study the introduction of a single window approach to gather all of the information required by Canadian authorities regarding the arrival and departure of ships in Canadian ports, and that this information be available electronically;
  • That the government work to harmonize policies and regulations related to freight transportation between Canada and the U.S., with particular focus on ballast water, capital infrastructure investments and the Great Lakes;
  • That the government  explore ways of increasing the year-round use of the St. Lawrence Seaway to transport goods within central Canada, and that it consider issues such as icebreaking, pilotage fees, handling fees and terminal fees within this context.

Although we are disappointed that the Committee’s report did not make any specific recommendations on the need to renew the Coast Guard’s icebreaking fleet, the supplementary opinion issued by the NDP makes extensive reference to our written comments on this subject and recommends that the federal government accelerate the procurement process for new icebreakers.

The full SCOT report was released on February 20th, and the Committee has requested that the government now table a comprehensive response to that report.