Arbitration

What is arbitration?

The Agency offers three types of arbitration:

During arbitration, an arbitrator reviews the facts (or final offers) submitted by the parties and settles the dispute by making a decision which is confidential and legally binding.

  Rail level of service arbitration Final offer arbitration Rail arbitration
Types of disputes

Rail level of service contracts

  • Rates
  • Conditions of service
  • The application of any rate or charge for the movement of goods
  • Charges for incidental services
  • Road and utility crossings
  • Net salvage value of discontinued lines 
  • Any other railway matter covered under Part III of the Canada Transportation Act
Dispute between

Shippers & railway companies

  • Shippers & railway companies or air or marine carriers
  • Governments & railway companies
  • Shippers & railway companies
  • Governments & railway companies
Possible outcome

The arbitrator makes a legally binding, confidential determination on service contract terms. The arbitrator is not limited to choosing between the parties’ positions.

The arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) makes a legally binding, confidential decision on which final offer will be used to settle the dispute.

The arbitrator makes a legally binding, confidential decision to settle the dispute.

Timeframes

45-65 days or longer if parties agree.

  • 60 days.
  • 30 days for disputes involving freight charges of less than $750,000 unless an extension is requested.

A reasonable timeframe is determined by parties or arbitrator.

References

Section 161 of the Canada Transportation Act

Section 36.2 of the Canada Transportation Act

More about how arbitration works

  Rail level of service arbitration Final offer arbitration Rail arbitration
Who initiates the process?
  • The shipper.
  • A shipper must give the Agency and the railway company 15 days advance notice before requesting arbitration.
  • The railway has 10 days to object.
The shipper or urban transit authority. Both parties have to agree to arbitrate.
Who arbitrates the dispute? An Agency arbitrator. An external arbitrator (or panel of 3 arbitrators). An Agency or external arbitrator.
Who chooses the arbitrator? The Agency. The parties (or the Agency, if the parties can't agree). The parties (or the Agency, if the parties can't agree).
How much does it cost? No costs for an Agency arbitrator. There may be travel and venue costs that the parties have to share. The shipper and the carrier share the costs equally. No costs for an Agency arbitrator. Otherwise, the shipper and the carrier share the costs equally.

Arbitrators

Under the Act, the Agency can establish a roster of persons for arbitrating rail disputes.

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