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Getting Canada’s Goods to Market Tops New West Agenda

Released on March 13, 2014

New West Partnership (NWP) Premiers Brad Wall (Saskatchewan), Christy Clark (British Columbia) and Alison Redford (Alberta) met today to discuss closer cooperation on western priorities.  At the top of the agenda was solving problems with getting western goods to market—now and in the longer term.

“Our reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality food has been damaged throughout the world,” Wall said.  “This is a serious problem and every avenue must be explored as we look for solutions.” 

On March 7, 2014, the federal government announced that railways would be required to immediately increase shipments of grain and report weekly on their progress.  Premiers welcome the increased shipments. To further complement this important action, Premiers call on the federal government to:
  • provide for mandatory service level agreements with reciprocal penalties for both grain shippers and railways;
  • accelerate the review of the Canada Transportation Act; and
  • expand monitoring systems to include all commodities in order to improve transparency and accountability.  
Premiers acknowledged that the current situation in Vancouver’s federally-regulated port cannot be tolerated for much longer.  Its impacts are being increasingly felt across the western provinces, and Premiers called on the federal government, the port, and truckers to work to resolve these disruptive labour issues.

“Over the last eight years, New West partners have worked together, with the federal government, and the transportation sector, to jointly commit over $22 billion in transportation infrastructure to support trade with Asia,” Clark said.  “Our governments are committed to ensuring that the region’s gateway facilities and transportation networks are fully able to support current and future export targets.”

“We are committed to increasing market access and ensuring our businesses capitalize on opportunities within Canada and around the world – particularly in Asia,” Redford said.  “Through today’s meeting we have laid out a clear path to address the rail service challenges our grain and other sectors are experiencing.  The outcomes of this meeting have positioned our provinces to strengthen our economies, increase our competitive edge and ensure the best quality of life for our citizens.

A NWP Summit on Transportation and Market Access will be held this fall.  The summit will bring together government and supply chain stakeholders to explore ways to improve the long-term efficiency, reliability and competitiveness of western Canada’s transportation system.  

The New West governments will put forward a joint submission to the National Infrastructure project component of the Building Canada Fund to improve western Canadian export infrastructure.  

In addition to their discussion of getting Western goods to market:
  • Premiers released a statement on engagement with Asia, which focuses on joint work in the areas of trade and investment agreements, foreign direct investment, trade promotion and international education to ensure the New West fully realizes its potential as an Asia-facing region.
  • Premiers agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding on Open Source Textbooks, which will see the three provinces work together to make higher education more affordable by developing Open Education Resources within their advanced education sectors.
  • Premiers committed to work together to remove barriers to mobility for apprentices in the skilled trades across western Canada.
  • To make it easier for Canadians to move among the New West provinces, Premiers agreed to exempt qualifying private vehicles imported between NWP jurisdictions from out of province inspections.
  • NWP Premiers share a common interest in engaging Aboriginal people in the economy and have provided strategic direction for work with business and Aboriginal communities within their jurisdictions on Aboriginal workforce engagement.
  • Premiers discussed the BC Services Card – a chip-enabled card intended to improve citizens’ access to services – and tasked Ministers to explore the possibility of adopting a similar approach in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  
Created in 2010, the NWP brought Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia into an unprecedented and historic partnership that established Canada’s largest open, efficient and stable market and created a framework for ongoing cooperation to strengthen the economy, unleash the creativity of innovators and expand the New West’s presence around the world.  

Related attachments:
  • New West Partnership – Engagement with Asia
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Open Educational Resources
  • Western Premiers Commit to Enhance the Mobility of Apprentices
  • New West Partnership Strategic Direction on Aboriginal Workforce Engagement
  • Western Premiers Make Moving Between Provinces Easier

For more information, contact:

Kathy Young
Executive Council
Phone: 305-787-0425
Cell: 306-526-8927

Neala Barton
Office of the Premier
Edmonton, Alberta
Phone: 587-991-8935

Ben Chin
Office of the Premier
Victoria, British Columbia
Phone: 250-588-3113

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