Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal
November 3, 2016
Check against delivery
Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us.
I am proud to be here in my city, Montréal. I am proud to be the federal MP for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount and proud to be one of six Quebec ministers. Thank you, Mayor Coderre, for being here with us today.
I’m here today because I want to talk about the future of Canada’s transportation system. I know I am speaking to a room full of the converted when I say that Canada’s transportation system is critical to the well-being of our economy. It is the lifeblood that transports our goods and our people within Canada and to the world.
Our government is focused on growing the economy and supporting the middle-class, and a modern, efficient transportation is key to these goals.
In February I tabled the Review of the Canada Transportation Act in Parliament. In this report David Emerson presented a key recommendation to envision Canada’s transportation system 20-30 years from now and invest today to build that future – and I agree. I would like to thank Mr. Emerson for the work he and his team did to produce this excellent report.
Over the last several months we consulted with Canadians– in person and online. We met with representatives of both industry and workers – including a number of you in the room here today. We sat down with Indigenous groups, non-governmental organizations and individual Canadians. We spoke with provincial and territorial ministers of transport, infrastructure, and with ministers of agriculture.
In all, we held some 150 sessions between May and October – getting the widest possible range of views to gain the best possible understanding of where we need to go and what we need to do.
Informed by the feedback and guidance of Canadians, we are moving forward as a government. Today I am pleased to announce important elements of our Transportation 2030 plan.
To begin, I want you all to imagine what Canada’s economy will look like in 2030.
Without a doubt it will be cleaner and more innovative. Countries around the world today are investing in public transit networks, and smart cities with advanced digital infrastructure with smart roads, smart cars, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, and distributed energy systems. Norway and Germany are already moving to full zero-emission cars and the world will follow.
Canada’s transportation system in 2030 will be increasingly electrified, supporting alternative fuels like hydrogen, increasingly using rail and renewable fuels in more efficient planes like the C-Series. To ensure Canada’s auto sector, aerospace sector and others remain strong, Canada must be on the leading edge of that change. Canada must invest today in that transportation sector of the future.
If we imagine the year 2030, we also know that trade will be critical for the Canadian economy, and that trade will have shifted significantly to Asia and other developing regions.
For Canada’s economy to succeed we must be able to get Canadian products, services and people to key markets. We must have modern airports and airlines with competitive and quality services. We must have access to advanced gateways with logistics and integrated infrastructure.
To ship our products to the world, we must also protect our environment, protect our coasts, marine habitats and our marine shipping lanes. As we have seen, we must bring our products to market in an efficient manner while taking necessary steps to balance growth with the environment.
This modern, advanced vision of Canada’s transportation system in 2030 defines the objective of our government’s plan. But in imagining this future, let me be clear I am not imagining wistfully – in no uncertain terms we know this cleaner, more innovative future is coming. We know trade is shifting. These changes are happening today and if we are not ready, we will get run-over by that change, we will be left behind.
It is incumbent on all of us to seize this opportunity – to invest today so we are on the leading edge of that future, not left trying to catch up. Smart investments are the key to growing our economy and creating good, strong, middle-class jobs.
So today, I’m going to give you some of the highlights – and share with you a number of specific announcements. In the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be outlining our major undertakings in greater detail – so all Canadians are aware of the improvements we plan to make, and the benefits they will bring.
I will tell you about an integrated, forward-looking plan that involves new actions and encompasses generational change – from the current systems to the ever-more sophisticated technological tools of tomorrow.
I’ve got a lot to talk about, so I’m going to get right to it.
Let’s start with improving the experience of the Canadian traveller.
When it comes to air travel, security is paramount – and will remain so. Everyone understands the imperative to protect travellers in an age of heightened risk. But no one enjoys being delayed at airport security.
Long lineups at screening checkpoints should be the exception but that is not the case. Too many Canadians are waiting too long.
You have been on a tiring business trip. It’s late. All you want to do is get home to see your spouse and your kids. Our goal should be to help speed up the process and get you there safe and sound.
We need to do better. By comparison, our competitor countries are doing better. Wait times in Germany, France and Belgium range between 90 and 95 percent of passengers waiting 10 minutes or less. We will work to set internationally competitive targets, allowing Canada’s airports to keep up with hubs in other countries.
To improve security screening, we will have to look at innovations, at new equipment and technology. We will also look at CATSA governance. Can we make it more accountable to a service standard and its funding more responsive and sustainable? Ultimately, we want to move more people, faster, through airport screening using new technologies and new methods, whilst improving the quality of screening.
We want to achieve tangible improvements to the traveling experience.
But that’s not all. There were two other recurring themes in our discussions with travellers.
The first is a sense of frustration at the cost of air travel within Canada – and the litany of fees and charges.
And the second is confusion regarding a traveller’s rights and the extent to which consumers are protected when problems arise.
We are taking action to address both concerns.
In the months ahead, we will be introducing an Air Travellers Passenger Rights Regime – to ensure that Canadians’ rights are protected by rules that are both fair and clear.
The new Rights Regime will establish clear minimum requirements so that Canadians will know what their rights are and when they are eligible for compensation – an approach that takes lessons from what other countries are implementing.
Some of the measures we are looking at include compensation standards for passengers denied boarding due to factors within the carrier’s control, or in case of lost or damaged baggage.
This will create a more predictable and reasonable approach that will ensure that Canadians understand better what their rights are as they travel by air. This will be done in a balanced way that also ensures air carriers do not suffer undue burden and loss of competitiveness.
At the same time, we will set the conditions for lower fares and increased competition by changing the rules on ownership in Canada’s passenger airline industry.
International companies will be able to own 49 per cent of an airline in Canada – up from the current 25 per cent, but a single foreign investor, or combination of foreign investors, will be capped at a maximum of 25 per cent.
This will lead to more options for Canadians, and allow the creation of new, ultra-low cost airlines in Canada.
Consistent with this, I am happy to announce today that two companies will immediately benefit from these new criteria. While I pursue the legislative amendments necessary to complete these changes, I will issue exemptions to two companies, Canada Jetlines and Enerjet, to allow them to immediately pursue increased investment, with appropriate conditions. This is a concrete example of increased services that could become available to Canadians.
We believe that greater competition and strengthened passenger rights within our domestic airline industry will be good for Canadians – providing more choice, greater connectivity, and making fares more affordable, while ensuring that all airlines have an incentive to deliver the best possible customer service.
With the goal of further enhancing the experience of Canadian travellers, our government is exploring the potential for high-frequency passenger rail service in the corridor between Montréal, Ottawa and Toronto.
And we will also begin working immediately with other federal departments to improve accessibility across the transportation system for people with disabilities and to accommodate our ageing population. Transportation must be more accessible to all.
Today, I want to talk about further improving transportation safety.
The explosion that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic was a tragedy for the community, for Quebec and for all of Canada. Beyond the terrible human cost, the incident raised real and legitimate concerns about the safety and security of rail transportation in our country.
Most of you here today know that we have already taken numerous steps to make the system safer. But there is more that can be done.
I can tell you today that the government will speed up its review of the Railway Safety Act – so we can move more quickly to further enhance railway safety standards.
Accidents do happen, but we need to learn from experience to avoid accidents in the future.
In line with recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board, we intend to put in place new regulations that will require railways to include video and voice recording devices in locomotives, so that this critical information can be used during accident investigations of the future, while protecting the privacy of employees.
We have already moved to strengthen the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The changes will better protect consumers by giving government new powers to compel vehicle manufacturers to recall and repair defective vehicles at no cost to the owner of the vehicle.
My department is also working to ensure that drones – or unmanned air vehicles – are subject to simple, clear and enforceable regulations. UAVs are contributing to advances in scientific research, exploration and rescue operations. The role of government here is to enable innovation in the use of UAVs while ensuring they fly safely. In fact, I am announcing today that we are certifying the first UAV test site in Canada, located in Foremost, Alberta.
As I have said, we need to focus on investing in the future of our transportation sector so that it is cleaner, more efficient and more environmentally responsible.
Canada is a partner to the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And we’ve announced plans to put a price on carbon pollution in all areas of our country.
The transportation sector accounts for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gases in Canada – and 80 per cent of these emissions come from cars and trucks. To reach our goals, we clearly have to take significant action in transportation.
The future of transportation will be in electric cars and vehicles using zero-emission fuels like hydrogen.
As a government, we have already invested 62 million dollars to increase the network of charging stations available to owners of electric vehicles and of other alternative-fuel vehicles. And with the new recently announced Green Infrastructure Fund, I will work with my colleagues in Cabinet to bring more initiatives forward.
On November 1st, we also announced details of tens of billions of dollars of investments in infrastructure in our towns and communities to modernize them and to build the economy of the future.
As part of this plan, our government will be launching a Smart-Cities Challenge to catalyze investment in the Internet of Things including smart roads, smart traffic systems and integrated transportation grids. Through this investment and others, we will focus on accelerating the adoption of zero-emission connected and automated vehicles – vehicles that will be cleaner and safer than today’s cars, and will help reduce the pollution caused by traffic congestion. We also announced that we use the Green Infrastructure Fund to invest in projects that will reduce greenhouse gases.
Over the coming year, I will be working with my provincial and territorial counterparts to hasten our transition to a lower-carbon transportation system. We will be setting new, more aggressive tail-pipe emissions and tire standards in cooperation with our North American partners.
As a government, we will work to play a leading role in developing and deploying the new technologies that will help us further reduce the emissions in ports, airports and other transportation hubs.
By focusing on innovation, we can not only meet our own emissions targets – we can lead the world in developing the products and services that will help other countries meet their goals.
Next – and building on our environmental commitments – we will better protect our waterways and coasts, including in the North.
As we’ve already made clear, we are working to formalize a moratorium on oil tanker traffic along the North coast of British Columbia.
On top of that, we must, and we will, introduce stronger environmental protections for all our coastlines and our oceans. Canada must have a world-class national plan for increased marine safety, emergency response and closer partnerships with Indigenous peoples and coastal communities. You will hear more about this in the coming days.
We will also invest in the North, where the most basic transportation infrastructure remains limited and – in some cases – antiquated. This makes it difficult, time-consuming, expensive, and less safe to move passengers and goods in and out of northern communities. This is simply not acceptable to me. It limits economic opportunities for Northerners and we need to change this.
Transport Canada will work with territorial governments, Indigenous peoples and the communities of the North to better assess their transportation infrastructure needs – whether it’s roads, airport improvements or marine investments.
Which leads me directly to the final element of our plan: We will invest in our infrastructure and trade corridors – to ensure our goods and resources can move efficiently within Canada and on to global markets.
Our long-term prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to compete in the world and to create jobs. By investing in our trade corridors, we invest in our own future.
As announced two days ago, we will invest 10.1 billion dollars in transportation infrastructure initiatives to support projects that will help keep people and goods moving as efficiently as possible at gateways, along corridors and across the wide expanse of our country, East, West and the North.
In total, the Fall Economic Statement proposes an additional 81 billion dollars through to 2027–28 in public transit, green and social infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure that supports trade, and rural and northern communities.
The government will also establish the new Canada Infrastructure Bank, an arm’s-length organization dedicated to increasing investment in growth-oriented infrastructure, transforming the way we plan, fund and deliver infrastructure across the country.
Our government has made a priority of focusing on the middle class – and those working hard to join it. Investing in trade and transportation infrastructure delivers on that commitment – by creating jobs, making our companies more competitive and establishing Canada as a favourable destination for new investment and the employment that it brings.
Working in partnership with other levels of government and the private sector, we will be investing in trade-critical improvements of national priority such as addressing railway bottlenecks that slow traffic in important export corridors.
We will also be looking to place a renewed focus on information sharing and collaboration – for example, by putting in place a new data regime to support evidence-based decision making by government and all stakeholders.
The motivation here is clear: We need to make smart decisions based on the best possible – and most complete – information. That’s the path to a safer and more efficient transportation system, and to a better understanding of how today’s trends will affect tomorrow’s economy.
If we do it, we should also make sure that data is available to all who operate, oversee, analyze and use the transportation system. Better information will allow us to understand and approach our transportation system as an integrated whole, a complex web of connections and logistics that hold the potential to bolster – or undermine – our economic performance.
As most of you know, we live in a country in which a fifth of all goods are shipped by rail. Demand continues to grow. There are more rail cars than ever on the tracks – at a time when speed of delivery has never been more important.
We need our railways to be efficient and competitive. We need goods to get where they’re going – be it here in Canada, across the border to the United States, or to a port for shipment overseas, in order to better support our economy.
Over the past 30 years, the volume of goods travelling by rail has doubled. Marine traffic has gone up by 50 per cent. Cargo is loaded and unloaded at speeds that would boggle the minds of past generations.
Meanwhile, some of our infrastructure is out of date. Some of our supply routes can’t handle the capacity.
But when we invest in improvements, we see the benefits. For instance, the expansion of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor in British Columbia has increased the flow of trade between Canada’s largest port and the continental rail system.
And improvements at the Port of Halifax allow it to accommodate the next generation of container ships, while improving facilities for value-added trade.
We must build on these investments to support ongoing economic growth.
This is crucial for small- and medium-sized businesses, which make up about 90 per cent of all Canadian exporters. Inefficiencies and disruptions within transportation networks can mean lost opportunities and higher costs.
Further details of our 10.1 billion-dollar plan for infrastructure will be forthcoming. But I also want to address one very important piece with respect to rail.
I have met with many stakeholders over the last several months with respect to competition and the quality of our rail system – farmers, grain companies, forestry companies, mining companies, the chemical industry and, of course, the railways themselves. I can tell you that Canada has a world-class rail transportation system, but that does not mean it is perfect. It can be better.
Striking the balance is important, and we must move forward. As part of our 2030 plan, our government will introduce legislation in the spring of 2017 to advance a long-term agenda for a more transparent, balanced, and efficient rail system that reliably moves our goods to global markets. As part of this plan, we will :
- Establish the ability to apply reciprocal penalties between railway companies and their customers in their service level agreements,
- better define “adequate and suitable service”,
- improve access and timelines for Canadian Transportation Agency decisions; and
- address the future of the Maximum Revenue Entitlement and extended interswitching.
We will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure there’s a proper balance in place – one that supports rail customers and delivers continued investments in the system. That’s how we will create a freight rail system that is even more competitive and efficient in the long term.
And so to sum up, because I know there’s a lot here to digest… To improve the travel experience and prepare our transportation sector for the future:
- We will invest 10.1 billion dollars in transportation infrastructure to help eliminate bottlenecks and build more robust corridors – so travellers and cargo alike can move more swiftly.
- We will introduce more robust environmental protection for our coasts – and stronger safety regulations to better protect Canadians.
- We will look to improve service standards for CATSA to make the passenger screening experience better.
- We will change Canadian airline international ownership rules in order to increase competition and create more options for Canadians.
- We will establish an Air Travellers Bill of Rights to better protect consumers.
Through regulatory action and our investment in infrastructure, we will take action and invest today to build cleaner, more sustainable transit systems, smart cities and a cleaner transportation sector for the future.
By way of conclusion today, I’ll say this: the Transportation 2030 plan I’ve outlined today represents a major renewal of transportation policy in our country. More details will be revealed in the weeks and months ahead.
This much I’m sure is clear: Our work is only beginning. This plan kicks off a large effort to put in place new legislation and new regulations to transform Canada’s transportation system and its economy. I am looking forward to taking action and putting this plan to work for Canadians.
This work is shaped by the views and preferences of Canadians. It will be implemented through close collaboration and ongoing communication with my Cabinet colleagues, the private sector, Indigenous groups, other levels of government and the people of our country.
I am very honoured that you are all here today to hear me talk about this plan. I have with me, at the head table, some people who symbolize each of the 5 pillars I have described today.
- We have here today Mr. Tim Shearman, President of the CAA, the Canadian Automobile Association.
- To highlight the importance of transportation safety and my commitment to this priority, I wish to acknowledge the presence of Mr. Denis Lauzon, Fire Chief from Lac-Mégantic.
- Mr. François Adam is here with us today. He is the President of the Institut du véhicule innovant in Saint-Jérôme, an institute that well represents the small- and medium-sized enterprises that make a difference in the future of transportation.
- We often stress the importance of keeping our waterways safe and protecting our coasts and the North. I would like to introduce Mr. Mario lPelletier, Deputy Commissioner at the Canadian Coast Guard.
- From an organization that well represents the country’s economic interests and our investments in infrastructure, here is Mr. Duncan Wilson, Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
By working in partnership, we can build a transportation system that will serve and benefit Canadians for decades to come.
As Canadians, we have always understood both the challenge and the privilege of living in such a vast land.
The blood of our economy runs through the veins of Canada’s transportation system.
As travellers, we value the highways, waterways, railways and air carriers that connect us to friends and family, to work and leisure. More than in most countries, we understand and appreciate the relationship between commerce and transportation – the need to move goods and resources through seaways, rivers and lakes, across prairies and through mountain ranges, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, south to our largest trading partner or north toward the Arctic Circle, over great distances and in every imaginable kind of weather.
Some of our defining undertakings as Canadians have been motivated by our transportation needs – the Canadian Pacific Railway, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Trans-Canada Highway.
We need to invest today to ensure they can work for us amid the demands of tomorrow, and the decades beyond.