14 May 2024Article
Canadian Rail Union Strike Newsfeed

Learn more about the latest developments on the announced Canadian Rail Union strike and its impact on North American supply chains in this dedicated newsfeed.

Following the recent Canadian rail union strike announcement and its continuous developments, we are providing regular updates on its impact on supply chains through this dedicated newsfeed.


Strike Action halted as Canadian Government Cites “danger to the safety or health of the public”

The Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) is reviewing whether possible strike action by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) could be seen as “danger to the safety or health of the public”.

Following the announcement of an intent to strike beginning 22nd May by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) against rail operators Canadian National Railway (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), Canada’s minister of labour Seamus O’Regan last week asked the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) whether certain rail services could be deemed as essential. If deemed “essential”, Canadian law states that during a strike or lockout, the union and its stakeholders must continue services “to the extent necessary to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public”.

While the CIRB investigates the issue, the TCRC’s right to stop services and strike is frozen, meaning the strike on 22 May cannot take place.

The minister cited that a strike could “endanger the health or safety of the public”, as Canada relies heavily on rail to distribute bulk goods across the country, including fuels and agricultural products.

A deadline for initial submissions and rebuttal has been set for 31 May by the CIRB.

Scheduled negotiations between the union and rail operators will go ahead as planned in Montreal this week, starting with CN, and on Friday with CPKC.


Canadian Rail Union Announces Potential Strike in May

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), a union representing over 9,000 Canadian rail workers across Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC), has announced a potential strike starting on May 22nd due to rising safety concerns over proposed changes to rest time provisions. Severe economic consequences and supply chain disruptions may arise, as CN and CPKC play a vital role in the movement of goods and commodities across North America.

The main point of discussion is the proposed change to rest period provisions, which the union argues could compromise workplace safety, especially regarding crew fatigue. Companies have made offers amidst efforts to avoid the strikes, and negotiations are currently in process.

If an agreement is not reached between the parties during the federal 21-day mediation period, critical disruptions to transportation and supply chains in Canada, North America, and Mexico are expected. Significant economic risks are associated with the strikes, with major disruptions anticipated on main transportation routes. Severe consequences are also anticipated for the agricultural and automotive sectors, as well as passenger services.

At Woodland, we offer alternative routing via US ports to minimize the impact of a possible strike. However, congestion is expected at US ports as shippers avoid routing via Canada where possible.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates. For any questions or concerns please reach out to us.

You may also like:
New customs requirements on Ireland to Great Britain movements from 2024
US Government Shutdown - Supply Chain Impact