Work stoppage on railway threatens grain farmers’ ‘lifeline’
March 17, 2022 (Ottawa, Ontario) – In response to news that Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has issued a lock out notice, effective March 20, 2022, to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) would like to express deep concern regarding the impact of a railway work stoppage on the agricultural supply chain.
“For grain farmers, the railways represent a lifeline,” said GGC chair Andre Harpe from his farm in Alberta’s Peace Country. “This is the time of year when we receive critical deliveries of fertilizer and other inputs required to put a crop in the ground.” This news leaves Canadian farmers in a particularly vulnerable position. Many are still recovering from the effects from last year’s devastating drought. Coupled with the calamitous fallout from the war in Ukraine, Canadian farmers and their international customers require quick reassurance that a spring crop will go in the ground without delays caused by supply chain interruptions.
“Our members rely on this critical infrastructure to get our product to customers across Canada and around the world,” added Harpe. “We also need to move what little grain our members may have left, following last year’s disappointing crop year, in order to support our cash flow for spring planting.”
As this work stoppage deadline approaches, GGC is calling on the federal government to use any tool at its disposal to prevent a disruption from occurring. This could include encouraging the TCRC to agree to binding arbitration or the introduction of emergency legislation, if required.
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