The Honourable Lisa Raitt, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Labour
House of Commons
Dear Minister Raitt,
Re: CP Rail Strike
The Canadian Canola Growers Association is very concerned about the threat of a labour stoppage at Canadian Pacific Railway. We request that the government impose both back-to-work legislation and an immediate and appropriate dispute resolution process in the event of a labour disruption at CP.
The over 43,000 canola growers represented by CCGA rely heavily on exports sales, with over 85% of the canola crop exported on an annual basis. The vast majority of these sales rely on Canadian rail transportation, either to reach an export port, or to reach an export market itself. Therefore, any disruption in rail service will have a detrimental effect on the canola industry’s ability to supply the majority of its customers.
Inevitably this will result in canola backing up in elevators and crush plants, adding to Canadian farmers’ grain handling costs and affecting their ability to deliver grain and to manage cash flow.
Equally concerning, particularly in the long run, is that rail work stoppages affect our industry’s ability to provide consistent and reliable service to our export customers. Even the threat of a disruption in rail service has the potential to negatively affect our reputation as a reliable supplier and can drive valued customers to look to our global competitors to meet their canola requirements. This has a direct effect on the competitiveness of Canadian farmers.
Therefore, we encourage you to take early action to head off this work stoppage before it affects the profitability of Canadian farmers, the competitiveness of the Canadian canola industry, and the Canadian economy in general.
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