CME & Presidents of Canada’s leading manufacturers call on federal government to restore rail service

TORONTO (February 18, 2020) – Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and Presidents of two leading Canadian manufacturers, with the support of businesses from across the country, are calling on the federal government to restore rail service in Canada. Rail shipping is a critical service in the global supply chains of Canadian businesses and the economy is suffering every day that rail blockages continue.

Today, Dennis Darby, President & CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters joined by Curtis Frank, President and Chief Operating Officer, Maple Leaf Foods, Ian Anderson, President, CKF inc to share the devastating impacts the on-going rail blockades are having on their operations. They are asking the Federal Government to step up and take immediate action to end the blockades.

The association highlights this is a pan-Canadian issue and, all involved parties should be part of finding a solution. “The federal government must work with the provinces to put an end to the blockages. For every additional day that the blockage continues approximatively $425 million worth of manufactured goods that are usually carried by rail are sitting idle,” said Darby.

Manufacturers loaded an average of nearly 4,500 rail cars per day in 2016, for a yearly total of 1.62 million rail cars. Manufactured goods account for nearly half of all rail car loadings in Canada.

The negative impacts of the interruptions are having a real effect on the economy and are being felt throughout the supply chain. For every day that rail service is blocked, it will take three to four days to make up for the lost time.

If we do not end this crisis now, manufacturers will have no choice but to halt production and that means job losses are possible, because manufacturers are not getting the materials they need.

“As an industry, Canada exports well over 60% of its pork and its total pork exports were over $4.2B in 2019.  The pork value chain in Canada employs over 50,000 Canadians.  The Canadian industry, our company, and the people that we employ are deeply dependent on an efficient rail system to support and to sustain our viability,” said Curtis Frank, President and Chief Operating Officer at Maple Leaf Foods. “We urge the Canadian government to work with urgency and to take action now to prevent further harm beyond the damage that is being done each day that this blockade continues.”

  • Curtis Frank, President and Chief Operating Officer, Maple Leaf Foods

“It is extremely important that the rail moves. Many vital human supplies are transported by rail and require rail. Our governments must take immediate steps to let the trains run. We all depend on it.

  • Ian Anderson, President, CKF inc


“The current loss of CN service is a major disruption to consumers as well as Industries looking to receive supplies and ship products made by Canadians to valued customers. We encourage all involved to quickly find a way forward.”

  • Mary Keith, Vice President, Communications, J.D. Irving Limited

“Canadians benefit from highly reliable rail infrastructure and on being an attractive place to invest. Maintaining a reputation of stability, adherence to the rule of law and having efficient infrastructure is critical to Canada’s long-term employment and investment competitiveness.”

  • Todd Karran, CEO of NOVA Chemicals

“Transportation is “Mission Critical” for both the business and people. From the “hearth to the table” or “from the manufacturing process to a finished product”, we are all impacted by the rail stoppages. We look forward for a peaceful solution and that Trust, Collaboration and Communication are part of the overall process.”

  • Eric Deschenes, P.Eng, ABB Canada Country Managing Director, Electrification Lead Business Manager


Since 1871, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been helping manufacturers grow at home and, compete around the world. Our focus is to ensure manufacturers are recognized as engines for growth in the economy, with Canada acknowledged as both a global leader and innovator in advanced manufacturing and a global leader in exporting. CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 leading companies who account for an estimated 82 per cent of manufacturing output and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.


Stefi Proulx
Director of Communications
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
C:  613-292-6070 | | @CME_MEC


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