Arbitration: Rail arbitration

What is rail arbitration?

It’s one of three types of arbitration offered as part of the Agency’s options for dispute resolution.

Types of disputes Disputes between Possible outcome Timeframes Legislation

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

Shippers &

Governments &

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

A reasonable timeframe is determined by parties or arbitrator.

Section 36.2 of the Canada Transportation Act

Who initiates the process? Who arbitrates the dispute? Who chooses the arbitrator? How much does it cost?

Both parties

An Agency or external arbitrator

The parties (or the Agency, if the parties can’t agree)

The shipper and the carrier share the costs equally.

For a comparison of the Agency’s dispute resolution methods, see options for dispute resolution.

When can rail arbitration be used?

Rail arbitration can be used for any railway-related matter that’s covered under Part III of the Canada Transportation Act.

Both parties must agree to submit a matter to the Agency for arbitration.

How does rail arbitration work?

The rules of procedure for rail arbitration can be established by the arbitrator and the parties, as there are no legislated rules.

However, rail arbitrations can follow the Agency’s proposed sample rules of procedure if the parties and the arbitrator agree.

If the sample rules of procedures are followed, arbitration proposals and briefs will be exchanged simultaneously, and arbitration hearings will be held at the head office of the Agency, unless the parties agree on an alternative location.

Arbitration awards will include confidential written reasons and will be made within seven days after the close of the arbitration hearing.  The arbitrator is not limited to choosing between one or the other party’s position — the award may be consistent with the position of either party or may be different from the positions of the parties.  Arbitration awards will be final and binding on the parties.

How can I apply for arbitration?

Arbitration services may be requested by filing a Submission for Arbitration with the Agency Secretariat.  A complete Submission for Arbitration must contain:

  1. the names and full contact information for all parties to the dispute, including mailing addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail addresses;
  2. the names and full contact information of legal counsel or other authorized representative of the parties, if any;
  3. a copy of any applicable written agreement, including confidential contract, relevant to the dispute;
  4. a concise statement of the relevant facts and the matters in dispute;  
  5. the remedy sought and offered solution(s); and,
  6. evidence of the agreement of both parties to arbitrate the dispute.
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