CIFFA mounts efforts to raise awareness about congestion, broken supply chain in Canada

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CIFFA has been escalating its efforts via the Secretariat office and our Ottawa-based lobbyist to raise awareness with ministers at the federal level of several issues at play in the Canadian supply chain.

CIFFA has called on the Canadian government to inquire into the severe congestion now impacting Canadian imports and exports, affected by both global and domestic factors, and is urging the Canadian government to increase collaboration with U.S. regulatory agencies and government to ensure mutual support and coordination of measures enacted to resolve this serious problem. 

It’s essential that Canadian and US responses are compatible and coordinated.

As well, CIFFA is raising concern about the fact there is a significant economic threat confronting Montreal, and all of Canada, in the possibility of a renewed labour disruption in the Port of Montreal.

In August of 2020 labour action in the Port of Montreal effectively closed the port for 3 weeks. The parties – CUPE Local 375 & the Maritime Employers Association – agreed to a “truce” to provide time to negotiate a contract to replace the previous agreement, which had expired in 2018. That truce is scheduled to end on March 21.

At present there is little sign of progress, or even of negotiation between the parties.

CIFFA does not have a position on the issues in dispute at the Port. Our concern is specifically with the widespread damage that will result from an interruption in service in the event the parties cannot resolve their differences.  It is essential that the federal government be aware of this scenario.

Our outreach efforts so far include the following:

On West Coast port congestion issues, a briefing note has been sent to the Transport Minister’s Marine/ports advisor, and also to the Senior Policy Advisor of Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. The note has also been sent to the Hill offices of four BC Ministers – Ministers Wilkinson, Qualtrough, Sajjan and Murray, as well as the Deputy Minister of Transport.

Ministers who have received our communication (English and French) regarding potential labour unrest at the Port of Montreal include the following:

The Honourable David Lametti
Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Honourable Melanie Joly
Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

The Honourable Mark Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Honourable Pablo Rodriquez
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

L’Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food

L’Honorable Francois-Phillipe Champagne
Ministre de l’Innovation, des Sciences et de l’Industrie