Transportation policy needs to change

Canada must move forward with transportation effectiveness, resilience

By Marc Garneau

Transportation policy has a real and daily impact on the lives of Canadians – on our safety, our security and on the ability of our businesses to move their products and resources to market.

As a trading nation, we can grow the best wheat, raise the finest beef, make products of the highest quality – and none of it will matter if we cannot transport them in a safe and timely manner.

Our transportation networks must be resilient and versatile enough to handle the needs of today – and the shifting and growing demands of tomorrow.

After consulting widely with Canadians, we are taking action to make our transportation sector more efficient for travellers and businesses alike. We are enhancing safety and sustainability – to better protect Canadians and our environment.

As part of our transformative plan, we will:

Invest $10.1 billion in transportation infrastructure to help eliminate bottlenecks and build more robust corridors, so travellers and cargo alike can move more swiftly. By investing in trade corridors, we invest in our own future – and in our ability to compete in the world.

Introduce more robust environmental protection for our coasts and stronger safety regulations to better protect Canadians.

Build competitive and safe marine corridors and enhance northern transportation infrastructure.

Accelerate our review of the Railway Safety Act – so we can move more quickly to further enhance railway safety standards.

Reduce the amount of time that Canadians spend waiting at the airport security gate without compromising the integrity of the screening process.

Change international ownership rules in our domestic airline industry to increase competition and reduce fares.

Explore the potential for high-frequency passenger rail service in the corridor between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

Establish an Air Travellers Passenger Rights Regime – to ensure Canadians are protected by rules that are both fair and clear.

Take action to embrace new technologies and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. By focusing on innovation, we cannot 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.

Taken together, these initiatives represent a major renewal of transportation policy in our country. This renewal was shaped by the input and priorities of Canadians – and it will involve ongoing dialogue and collaboration with the private sector, Indigenous Peoples, Crown corporations and agencies, all levels of government, other federal ministers and the people of Canada.

By working in partnership, we can build a transportation system that will better serve and benefit Canadians for decades to come.

Our transportation networks are the circulatory system of our economy. They are our connection to the country we share.

We need to invest today to ensure they can work for us amid the demands of tomorrow, and the decades beyond.

Marc Garneau is the federal Minister of Transport.