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Industry Letter to Federal Government on Labour Stability in the St. Lawrence Seaway

Industry Letter to Federal Government on Labour Stability in the St. Lawrence Seaway

In a letter to the federal government, we expressed our concern regarding the strike shutting down transit through the St. Lawrence Seaway, causing further damage our supply chains.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Seniors

The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Transport and Quebec Lieutenant

Re: Federal Government Engagement on Labour Stability in the St. Lawrence Seaway

Dear Ministers:

We are expressing our concern regarding the strike shutting down transit through the St. Lawrence Seaway, causing further damage our supply chains. Another labour disruption so soon after the west coast ports strike only serves to exacerbate an already challenging situation.

As you know, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) was served with a 72-hour notice to strike by UNIFOR on October 18, 2023. The union began strike action on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Shutting down transit through the Seaway severely impacts shipments of important exports such as grain, iron ore, and potash, as well as fuel for transportation, fertilizer for next year’s crops, gypsum and cement for construction, and the salts municipalities are counting on for winter road maintenance.

On behalf of the Canadian business community, we request the government’s active engagement with this bargaining process and that it work to end this latest labour disruption. It is imperative that the federal government work with the parties to secure an affordable, stable, and efficient supply chain.

Canadian families and businesses alike must be able to rely on our supply chains. According to the Canadian Chamber’s Business Data Lab, nearly a quarter of businesses have stated that supply chain issues will continue to remain a key obstacle to growth and that they expect these challenges to persist well into next year. Another labour disruption will have a significant and immediate impact on the livelihoods of Canadians and the health of Canadian businesses that rely on the safe and efficient flow of Canadian goods.

The St. Lawrence Seaway supports more than 66,000 Canadian jobs and is responsible for $34 million in economic activity per day. Any work stoppage damages the Canadian economy, fanning inflation and increasing costs for Canadians. Our exporting industries could face delays in getting their products to market, hampering their ability to earn income and secure global contracts that drive investment and support jobs here at home.

While we respect the right to collective bargaining and sincerely believe the best deals are reached at the table, Canada’s economy and our supply chains cannot afford another disruption. The federal government must continue to work closely with all parties to reach an agreement to end this work stoppage.

A functioning, efficient, reliable, and affordable supply chain is critical to safeguarding Canada’s economy. Combatting inflation, restoring price stability, and strengthening relationships with our trading partners is reliant on goods flowing dependably to and from market. Without stability, we jeopardize our economic prosperity and put the and livelihoods of Canadians families at risk.


Beer Canada
Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Construction Association
Canadian Consumer Specialty Products Association
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Canadian Food Exporters Association
Canadian Franchise Association
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association
Canadian Meat Council
Canadian Society of Customs Brokers
Canadian Steel Producers Association
Canadian Sugar Institute
Canadian Toy Association
Canadian Trucking Alliance
Canola Council of Canada
Cement Association of Canada
Chamber of Marine Commerce
Chemistry Industry Association of Canada
Electro-Federation Canada
Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications
Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec
Fertilizer Canada
Food Producers of Canada
Freight Management Association of Canada
Global Automakers of Canada
Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada
Innovative Medicines Canada
L’Association du camionnage du Québec
Medtech Canada
National Maritime Group
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Port Colborne-Wainfleet Chamber of Commerce
Responsible Distribution Canada
Restaurants Canada
Shipping Federation of Canada
Spirits Canada
The Mining Association of Canada
Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce
Welland/Pelham Chamber of Commerce
Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition

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