November 20, 2019

Statement on CN Rail Strike

cn rail

For Immediate Release

November 20, 2019

ALBERTA — Approximately 3,200 CN Rail workers are currently on strike. This strike has an immediate negative impact on the prosperity of Canada and the thousands who work in the agriculture and energy sectors.

The Business Council of Alberta asks the Ministers of Transport and Labour to make their first priority a resumption of the essential rail transportation that brings Canadian products to market.

This disruption of essential trade infrastructure has an outsized impact on the Alberta economy and the people of Alberta. Over $775M in Alberta crops are still on fields. Each day they are unable to reach market significant value is lost. Based on CN’s average oil shipping volumes, the cost is over $7.5M per day to Canada’s economy. This endangers the jobs, livelihood, and prosperity of thousands of Albertans.

Today, the new federal cabinet was sworn in, and we congratulate all the new Ministers on their appointments. With Parliament not due back until December 5, each day that the disruption continues means the negative consequence to our provincial and national economy multiplies.

We ask the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau and Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi to take the following actions to reach a resolution and ensure continuity of movement of goods and services that are vital to the prosperity of all Canadians:

  1. Immediately hold an emergency meeting with CN Rail and union representatives to mediate a return to work
  2. If a resolution can’t be reached, ask Prime Minister Trudeau to recall Parliament before December 5 to introduce back to work legislation
  3. Develop policy to protect essential trade infrastructure from future disruptions

Trade infrastructure, such as rail, is a vital component to building shared prosperity, not just in Alberta but across Canada. This disruption is only the most recent in a list of challenges which require long-term solutions. We offer to work with you on positive policy solutions for the long-term health of this essential trade infrastructure.


About the Business Council of Alberta:

The Business Council of Alberta is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to building a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada. Composed of the chief executives and leading entrepreneurs of the province’s largest enterprises, Council members are proud to represent the majority of Alberta’s private sector investment, job creation, exports, and research and development. The Council is committed to working with leaders and stakeholders across Alberta in proposing bold and innovative public policy solutions and initiatives that will make life better.

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