FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, ON, October 28, 2023 – The federal government must take immediate action to end the St. Lawrence Seaway strike after yesterday’s negotiations between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Unifor failed to result in a tentative agreement. The seaway is an important trade corridor for Canada, including importing fertilizer for Eastern Canadian farmers and exporting potash to international markets. Farmers have a short window to apply fertilizer and any disruption to the supply chain can threaten getting fertilizer to farmers in time and jeopardize food security.
Fertilizer Canada respects the collective bargaining process, but after seven days of closure it is time for the federal government to act and use all tools available under the Canada Labour Code. Action must be taken to find a swift resolution to protect Canada’s economy and our global reputation as a reliable trading partner.
In July during the West Coast Ports strike Minister O’Regan invoked Section 105.2 and Section 107 to bring a resolution to the labour dispute. These along with all other tools under the Canada Labour Code must be considered and actioned as soon as possible to bring a swift end to the strike.
“There is no time to waste to get the Seaway moving again,” says Karen Proud, President and CEO Fertilizer Canada. “Each day the strike goes on we add to the backlog and jeopardize our reputation on the world stage as a reliable trading partner.”
To strengthen Canada’s supply chains and help safeguard against future disruptions it is imperative the federal government accelerates the recommendations of the 2022 National Supply Chain Task Force, including addressing systemic labour dispute delays.
The Canadian fertilizer industry relies on the St. Lawrence Seaway for the movement of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash products, three nutrients that play a fundamental role in plant growth.
The seaway is less than 60 days away from closing for winter, which limits the time available to work through the backlog caused by the strike that compounds each day.
Canada’s potash exports were heavily impacted by the delays caused by the West Coast Ports labour dispute in July and have relied on Canada’s Eastern Ports, especially the Port of Thunder Bay, to support recovery.
ABOUT FERTILIZER CANADA:
Fertilizer Canada represents producers, manufacturers, wholesale and retail distributors of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur fertilizers. The fertilizer industry plays an essential role in Canada’s economy and is committed to supporting the industry through innovation, sustainability, stewardship, safety and security. As the foundation of Canada’s agri-food sector, we apply innovative solutions that positively impact the environment, the economy, and the social fabrics of Canadian life.
Director of Communications, Fertilizer Canada