Ottawa, July 4, 2023 – Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is calling on all parties to negotiate an immediate end to the strike at the Port of Vancouver and other ports in British Columbia.
In their June 28, 2023, statement, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Labour, and the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transportation said that “Everyone — the employer, the union, the mediators, and the government — understands the urgency and what is at stake for Canadians and our supply chains.”
Given that the federal government understands what is at stake, CME urges them to intervene now to reassure manufacturers that they will not bear the brunt of a labour dispute that is beyond their control. A strike of this magnitude not only disrupts the Canadian economy but damages our global trading reputation, hurts already fragile supply chains, and puts jobs at risk.
“Once again manufacturers are being held hostage and paying the cost of a labour disruption at one of Canada’s transportation hubs,” said Dennis Darby, President and CEO of CME. “We need government action now to prevent permanent damage to our economy and to Canada’s reputation as a serious trading partner.”
Now in its fourth day, the impact of this labour disruption is being felt by manufacturers across Canada. Sixteen per cent of the country’s total goods, worth approximately $500 million, is being disrupted every day.
All manufacturing sectors are affected by the strike, from automotive, to energy, to parts manufacturers, to consumer goods. Hanging in the balance are the livelihoods of Canada’s 1.7 million manufacturing workers, their businesses, their customers, and the communities they support.
CME is also asking the federal government to work with industry on legislative reforms that will discourage future disruptions to Canada’s critical trade infrastructure. Designating ports, rail lines, and all other transportation infrastructure as essential, and limiting when and where labour and other disruptions can occur, will engender the stability manufacturers need.
“If we do not seriously address the root problems of Canada’s transportation network disruptions, and eliminate the incentives to time and game labour disruptions to inflict maximum economic pain, then it will just continue to be Groundhog Day – where every six months a disruption occurs, and manufacturers and Canadians are left to pay the economic costs,” added Darby.
These repeated disruptions have long-term consequences. They threaten to undermine investor confidence in Canada, leading to reduced business investment and slower economic growth. It cannot go on,” concluded Darby.
ABOUT CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS & EXPORTERS (CME)
From the first industrial boom in Canada, CME has advocated for and represented member interests. 150 years strong, CME has earned an extensive and effective track record of working for and with 2,500 leading companies nationwide. More than 85 per cent of CME’s members are SMEs and collectively account for an estimated 82 per cent of total manufacturing production and 90 per cent of Canada’s exports.