Rail: Overview

The Government of Canada’s national transportation policy, as set out in the Canada Transportation Act, permits the market to largely self-regulate. However, it also acknowledges that regulation may be required to meet public objectives or in cases where parties are not served by effective competition.

Within the specific powers assigned to it by legislation, the Agency participates in the economic regulation of rail carriers under federal jurisdiction by:

  • licensing rail carriers;
  • approving railway line construction;
  • setting railway revenue caps for moving western grain;
  • establishing financial and costing frameworks for certain railways;
  • setting interswitching rates to increase competitive options available to shippers; and
  • establishing the net salvage value of railway lines to facilitate their orderly transfer.
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