Transportation 2030: Trade Corridors to Global Markets

“Trade Corridors to Global Markets” is one theme under Transportation 2030, the Government of Canada’s strategic plan for a safe, secure, green, innovative and integrated transportation system.

On this page

Our goal for this theme

To improve our transportation system so we can get products to market and grow our economy.

What Canadians told us

In 2016, we consulted Canadians about our transportation system. Here is what they told us about trade:

  • It takes good collaboration between industry and government to maximize economic opportunities
  • Cost inefficiencies hurt Canada’s ability to compete globally
  • The costs of domestic freight transportation greatly affect industrial investments
  • Beyond infrastructure investment, Canada must use innovation, policy, regulations and creativity to improve the efficiency of supply chains
  • We must adopt a national and system-wide way of looking at things in order to identify problems
  • However, we must also keep in mind the individual needs of shippers, as there may not always be one fix for all sectors
  • Transport data is becoming less available, but Canada needs to make data a priority for a national transportation strategy

Where we go from here

To meet our goals for getting products to market effectively, we committed to:

  • Support the movement of goods and people by investing more than $180 billion in infrastructure over 12 years as part of the Investing in Canada Plan
  • Use new ways to collect and analyze data
  • Make sure that data is available to all who operate, oversee and use the transportation system
  • Look at new ways to finance transportation infrastructure projects in partnership with other levels of government and the private sector
  • Make infrastructure investments to address bottlenecks in important trade corridors, including rail export corridors
  • Work on greater transparency in the rail transportation supply chain
  • Take a more balanced approach for rail stakeholders
  • Support a more competitive and efficient rail sector
  • Make sure our actions support work on government priorities, such as:
    • Canada’s progressive trade and investment plan
    • a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change
    • a national innovation agenda

Budget 2017 support

Budget 2017 made a large commitment to trade and transportation priorities, including:

  • $2 billion to the National Trade Corridors Fund, including $400 million to address the transportation needs of Canada’s North
  • $5 billion to the Canada Infrastructure Bank
  • $50 million to improve our trade and transportation data and analysis which led to the creation of the Canadian Centre on Transportation Data

Budget 2018 support

  • $6 million over the next 3 years to help modernize the Canadian Transportation Agency
  • In the 2018 Fall Economic Statement, Transport Canada received $13.6 million over three years to improve transportation data and speed the creation of the Canadian Centre on Transportation Data. This funding started in 2019.

Budget 2019 support

To improve and build infrastructure in northern Canada, Budget 2019 earmarked $400 million over eight years for Arctic and northern regions under the National Trade Corridors Fund. This brings the total funds for these regions to $800 million, and funding would start in 2020-21.

Our progress

Improvements to the rail industry

The Transportation Modernization Act (the Act) received Royal Assent on May 23, 2018. This Act amended the laws and regulations that govern the railway industry in Canada, based on the following four principles:

  1. Fair access

    Creating a more balanced approach for stakeholders, by:

    • better defining “adequate and suitable” rail service in the Canada Transportation Act
    • ensuring more accessible and timely processes to support balanced negotiations between shippers and railways on both rates and service allowing shippers to seek reciprocal financial penalties in their service agreements with railways, which will make both parties more accountable
    • creating more informal dispute resolution support and updated guidance on shipper remedies from the Canadian Transportation Agency
  2. Transparency

    Increasing transparency of the freight rail sector, by:

    • making more data on the service and performance of railways publicly available
    • expanding the Canadian Transportation Agency’s power to investigate rail service issues
  3. Efficiency

    Fostering a more efficient and competitive freight sector, by:

    • creating a new way, called “long-haul interswitching,” to give captive shippers across sectors and regions of Canada access to a competing railway
    • requiring railways to report publicly each year on their ability to move the upcoming grain crop, as well as on their winter contingency plans
  4. Long-term investment

    Encouraging investments in the freight rail network, by:

    • modernizing the formula the Canadian Transportation Agency uses to calculate the Maximum Revenue Entitlement for grain, to better credit railways for their investments and encourage the purchase of hopper cars
    • making it easier for the Canadian Transportation Agency to update regulated interswitching rates on an annual basis

Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative

On July 4, 2017, the Minister announced the creation of the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative, which will build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets. This initiative created:

  • the National Trade Corridors Fund, which will invest $2 billion over 11 years to strengthen Canada’s trade infrastructure (ports, waterways, airports, bridges, border crossings, and rail lines). There have been three calls for proposals to date:
    • 2017-2018: $800 million for 39 projects that address urgent volume restrictions and improve supply chain performance
    • 2018-2019: $400 million northern allotment for projects that address the transportation needs of Canada’s north
    • 2019: speed the remaining National Trade Corridor funding over five years to support the government’s Export Diversification Strategy
  • a Trade and Transportation Information System, managed by the new Canadian Centre on Transportation Data, a joint project between Transport Canada and Statistics Canada
  • measures for innovative transportation, to:
    • help us work with key partners in understanding and regulating new transportation technologies
    • update rules and regulations for remotely piloted aircraft systems (also known as drones) and connected and automated vehicles

National Trade Corridors Fund projects funded to date

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