Home / News Releases / BUDGET SEASON ROUNDUP


– Federal –

As Marc mentioned above, the federal budget contained significant elements affecting rail, including an interswitching “pilot” and Supply Chain Office.

Rail-specific measures:

  • Amendments coming to the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) for a temporary extension, on a pilot basis, of the rate-regulated interswitching limit in the prairie provinces to “strengthen rail competition”
  • Amendments coming to the CTA to provide the Minister of Transport with the authority to compel data sharing by shippers accessing federally regulated transportation services
  • Budget highlights several rail and rail-related projects receiving federal funds including the Montreal Blue Line, Prince Rupert Port Authority, and Lac Megantic Bypass


Transportation Insights (Legislative):

  • Canada’s National Supply Chain Strategy will be released in the “coming months”
    • “Informed by” the Task Force recommendations
  • Commitment to coordinate with stakeholders to develop a long-term roadmap for transportation infrastructure
  • Review coming of the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act to “improve marine shipping competition”
  • Amendments coming to the CTA to “strengthen airline obligations to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations”
  • Amendments coming to the CTA to make complaint adjudication process more efficient and allow ministerial imposition of regulatory charge on airlines


Transportation Insights (Financial):

  • $75.9 million over three years for dispute resolution services amid issues with air, rail, or marine service providers
  • $27.2 million over five years to Transport Canada (TC) to establish a Transportation Supply Chain Office
  • $25 million over five years for TC to work with Statistics Canada to develop transportation supply chain data
  • $20 million over five years for TC to support rail safety improvement projects (among other things)
  • Budget highlights $4.7 billion since 2015 towards National Trade Corridors Fund


Other Notable Changes:

  • Amendments coming to the Canada Labour Code before the end of 2023 to prohibit the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout
    • Improve the process to “review activities that must be maintained to ensure the health and safety of the public during a work stoppage”
  • 2% tax on share buybacks by public corporations to begin Jan. 1, 2024
  • New or modified tax credits for clean electricity, manufacturing, hydrogen, CCUS, and tech
  • Labour requirements – like the need for prevailing wages – are considered
  • New legislation coming to establish the Canada Innovation Corporation (a new Crown corporation with a mandate to increase Canadian business expenditure on research and development across all sectors and regions)
  • Consultations coming on biofuels support
  • $1.3 billion over six years to the Impact Assessment Agency and other regulators and departments to “improve the efficiency of assessments for major projects”
  • Other major changes: boosted health transfers, a Canadian Dental Care Plan, new “grocery rebate”, higher Alternative Minimum Tax for high income earners, crackdowns on junk fees and predatory lending, new measures to support students, and new commitments on affordable housing, etc.

– Provincial –

The Ontario government presented its budget on March 23, 2023. Our submission to that process included five recommendations. Rail highlights include:

  • $70.5 billion over 10 years for public transit with a variety of projects underway (p.14)
    • Expanding GO Transit rail service to Bowmanville and the Niagara Region (and several other GO investments, including new stations, platforms, and tracks)
    • Two contracts and two RFQs for the Ontario (subway) Line
    • Subway-related tunnelling (Scarborough Subway Extension and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension)
    • Continued support for Hazel McCallion Line and Finch West LRT
  • $139.5 million for three new trainsets that will restore Northlander passenger rail service between Timmins and Toronto (p.56)
  • Maintaining GO Transit co-fare discount and looking to expand it to support more people using public transit to come into Toronto (p.77)
  • Working to introduce debit tapping payment capability to all transit systems in the GTHA (p.78)
  • Budget notes that four of five recent projects funded by green bonds were rail projects (p.166)
  • Budget mentions the project to elevate the Barrie GO Line above CP freight train tracks (p.51)


The Quebec budget was tabled on March 21, 2023. There, too, our four recommendations positioned sustainable rail transportation as key priorities for investment. Rail highlights were as follows:

  • To continue its support for municipalities in maintaining or enhancing road safety at level crossings, the government is providing $12 million over three years in Budget 2023-2024. (p.E-39)
  • To continue its support for the development of a safe, effective and competitive rail network, the government is providing $60 million over three years. (p.E-39)
  • To ensure the continuation of the line’s maintenance and development, the government is providing $21 million over five years in Budget 2023-2024 to renew its support for the Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie. (p.E-40)
  • The government is reiterating its commitment to help finance the construction of a rail bypass in Lac-Mégantic. Final details on the route and the project’s cost will be announced at a later date. (p.E-40)


The Alberta budget was presented on February 28, 2023. The RAC successfully advocated for additional capital and operating funding for rail and commuter rail services. Budget documents have nods to funding for LRT systems in Edmonton and Calgary, as well as funding to study a rail link between Calgary’s international airport and downtown.

British Columbia’s budget was also presented on February 28, 2023. It included capital funding for B.C. Rail and a $400 million envelope to buy land near public transit for housing construction. We will continue our advocacy efforts to ensure that any such developments align to revised Proximity Initiative guidelines.

The Saskatchewan budget was presented March 22nd (link) and included an investment of $26.5 million to support a “one-network approach” by working with partners to fund strategic transportation infrastructure investments and maintenance. More specifically, 530 000$ will be dedicated to the Short Line Railway Improvement Program to support the short line rail industry in maintaining and upgrading rail infrastructure.