Commissions call on the federal government to find an immediate resolution to looming CP labour strike, economic losses will be detrimental to farmers
The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions are strongly urging the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan to find a resolution to the looming Teamster’s Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) labour conflict with Canadian Pacific (CP) rail as any disruption in service would have a devastating impact on farmers. The commissions urge the federal government to intervene through any measures necessary to protect farmers against economic losses during this critical time leading up to the 2022 growing season.
Alberta’s family farms are relying on the 2022 crop to financially recover after the 2021 crop was reduced by 40 per cent due to the worst drought in 20 years. Success in 2022 depends on having critical crop inputs delivered to the farm before spring seeding begins, but issues in supply chain logistics are raising concerns. A CP rail disruption is expected to result in late delivery of crop inputs, preventing the 2022 crop of reaching its full potential before it is planted.
“Canadian railways are the lifelines for western Canadian farmers and this potential strike poses serious threats to the success of our upcoming growing season which is just weeks away,” says Tara Sawyer, Alberta Barley chair. “Railways are a critical link in the supply chain as farmers rely on their service to receive crop inputs including fertilizer and crop protection products.”
Canadian railways are also imperative for transporting farmers’ grain to key markets. A rail disruption will add further stress to farmers and their cash flows during a time when they need marketing certainty the most. Farmers are facing drastic increases in the costs of crop inputs including fertilizer, along with the rising cost of fuel further tightening profit margins.
“Past rail strikes have resulted in devastating effects on farmers as the economic losses are often passed down the value chain and borne by us primary producers,” says Greg Sears, Alberta Wheat Commission chair. “Additionally, a rail disruption will immediately result in backlogs that will hurt Canada’s reputation as a reliable grain supplier to our international buyers.”
While the commissions respect the process of collective bargaining, any disruption in rail service will cause a massive system backlog and economic losses for farmers, rural economies and the Canadian economy at large. The commissions request that the Minister of Labour works with all relevant parties to avoid a disruption to CP’s rail service.
Click to view the commissions' letter to Minister O'Regan urging for immediate action.
Marketing Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions