Canada West Coast Port Updates: ILWU Labour Dispute Nears Resolution

24 Jul Canada West Coast Port Updates: ILWU Labour Dispute Nears Resolution


The labor dispute at Canada’s West Coast ports has been closely monitored by businesses, importers, and exporters across the country, as it significantly impacted supply chains and port operations. However, there is encouraging news as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Longshore Caucus has approved and recommended a settlement proposed by the federal mediator. Additionally, the Port of Vancouver is gradually returning to regular operations. In this article, we will delve into the latest developments at the ports and explore the measures being taken to alleviate pressures caused by the disruptions.

  • ILWU Longshore Caucus Approves Tentative Deal:

The ILWU Longshore Caucus, which represents the workers involved in the labor dispute, has approved and recommended the terms of settlement proposed by the federal mediator. The settlement was ratified by the BCMEA (British Columbia Maritime Employers Association) on July 13. The next step involves a ratification vote by the ILWU voting membership, expected later this week, with results anticipated shortly thereafter. If the deal is accepted, it could mark the end of the labor dispute and bring much-needed stability to the ports.

  • Port of Vancouver Returns to Regular Operations:

As the labor dispute is gradually being resolved, the Port of Vancouver is witnessing a return to normalcy in the container sector. On July 21, eight container vessels were at berth, and 11 more were awaiting entry into the port’s jurisdiction. Container terminal rail production has seen significant fluctuations over the past few days, with figures as follows:

  • July 21: 69,018 ft
  • July 20: 8,698 ft
  • July 19: 20,745 ft
  • July 18: 59,888 ft
  • July 17: 60,788 ft
  • July 16: 60,467 ft
  • July 15: 43,266 ft

Container import on-dock footage reached 285,735 ft. These figures indicate a positive trend as port operations stabilize.

  • CBSA’s Contingency Measures:

To alleviate the pressures caused by the labor disruptions, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has introduced interim measures. If a vessel is required to wait at an anchoring point due to port congestion or boarding of surveyors/testers, the vessel may do so without providing an A6 General Declaration inward/outward to the CBSA or sending a conveyance arrival certification message (CACM) for a maximum of 45 days. During this period, the vessel should not engage in any commercial activities at a CBSA port, and no crew should disembark while at anchor.

  • Contingencies for Marine Carriers, Freight Forwarders, and Importers/Brokers:

In response to the ILWU labor disruptions, the CBSA has advised marine carriers, freight forwarders, and importers/brokers of the following contingencies:

  • For vessel diversions: Conveyance operating carriers must not transmit the CACM until they are certain the vessel will be coming into port, berthing, and confirmed as discharging, to avoid triggering deconsolidation messages and/or releases.
  • Omission of Canadian port of call: Specific actions are outlined depending on the status of the cargo and release document, including updates, cancellations, and refund requests.
  • Departure from Canada without transmitting CACM: Procedures for updating conveyance and cargo data if goods return on the same or a different conveyance, or via truck/rail, or if the vessel is diverted to another terminal within the same port.

  • Support from Canada’s Ministers:

Canada’s Ministers of Labour and Transportation have taken to Twitter to express their support for the progress made in resolving the labor dispute. Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., thanked the ILWU Canada Longshore Caucus for sending the terms of settlement to a membership vote. Minister of Transportation, Omar Alghabra, expressed encouragement at the union leadership’s endorsement of the settlement and hopes for its ratification, recognizing the significance of stability for supply chains, workers, and families across Canada.


As the ILWU labor dispute approaches a resolution, there is renewed hope for stability in Canada’s West Coast ports. The approval and recommendation of the settlement by the ILWU Longshore Caucus and the Port of Vancouver’s return to regular operations signify positive developments. The CBSA’s contingencies are aimed at easing the challenges posed by the disruptions. With the support of Canada’s Ministers of Labour and Transportation, businesses and stakeholders can anticipate a return to smoother operations and restored supply chains in the near future.