Issues eligible for level of service arbitration

The Agency can provide arbitration to establish a level of service agreement between a shipper and a federally-regulated railway company when the parties are unable to negotiate a commercial contract on their own.

The Agency cannot provide arbitration for disputes involving provincially-regulated shortline railway companies. As well, it is not possible to arbitrate level of service agreements for a group.

What types of issues can be submitted?

Subsection 169.31(1) of the Canada Transportation Act identifies the matters that shippers can submit to the Agency for level of service arbitration:

  1. The operational terms that the railway company must comply with:
    1. for receiving, loading, carrying, unloading and delivering the traffic, including performance standards and communication protocols; or
    2. if it fails to abide by an operational term.
  2. Any operational term that the shipper must comply with that's related to an operational term described above.
  3. Any amount to be paid by the railway company or the shipper in relation to a failure to comply with any operational term described above.
  4. Any incidental service provided by the railway company that is customary or usual in connection with the business of a railway company.
  5. The question of whether a railway company may apply a charge for an operational term or for an incidental service.
  6. The dispute resolution process related to the implementation of the arbitrator’s decision

What are operational terms?

Operational terms are obligations that railway companies have towards shippers for the performance of an action related to the receiving, loading, carrying, unloading and delivery of traffic.

For example: the provision of railway cars, or specifying pickup, transit and delivery times and routes.

The Agency has specified in regulations an extensive but not exhaustive list of examples of operational terms that may be included in arbitration.

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