No agreement in sight for Canadian rail workers and rail companies 

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) has released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations with Canada’s two largest rail companies, Canadian Pacific Kansas City and CN rail. The two sides have been meeting with federal mediators, but no progress has been made.

As of the union’s most recent update, no further negotiation dates have been scheduled and the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) is acting on the Minister of Labour’s request that it provide clarity on whether certain rail services could be deemed as essential, and therefore must be maintained during a labor disruption. The CIRB set May 31st as the deadline for initial submissions and rebuttal, and a legal strike can’t begin until at least 72 hours after the Board issues its decision. CPKC posits that a strike is unlikely to begin until mid-July.

To reduce disruption to their business, importers are encouraged to proactively contact their carriers to discuss diversion options and associated fees. Those who choose to wait for a resolution before contacting carriers or freight forwarders well in advance to make alternative plans may find that it’s too late for the carrier to divert the shipment, or truck capacity may be extremely limited. 

If there is a strike, shipments arriving in Canada via ocean carriers that are scheduled to continue to their inland destinations via rail will not be moved, resulting in demurrage fees, which are the responsibility of the importer.