28 Mar CIFFA Urges Government to Protect Canadian Businesses and Consumers
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), a leading association representing some 300 member firms including freight forwarding, freight brokerage, and drayage companies, has written a letter to several government ministers to draw attention to the ongoing labour negotiations at Canada’s West Coast ports. The negotiations are being conducted by the BCMEA and ILWU, who are negotiating two coastwide collective agreements on behalf of the Longshore Locals and Local 514 Ship & Dock Foremen, respectively. The agreements cover wages, benefits, hours of work, and employment conditions for over 7,400 workers at Canada’s West Coast ports, and both agreements are set to expire on March 31, 2023.
As of March 20, and following only five days of bargaining, ILWU Canada has issued a Notice of Dispute regarding the Longshore Locals agreement, citing a lack of “meaningful progress.” This development has raised concerns among CIFFA members, who regard this situation as potentially one of the most significant impacts on Canada’s economy, with the potential to create very significant disruptions. Such disruptions would undoubtedly increase consumer costs, fueling additional inflation, and severely impact businesses relying on imports of equipment or exports of products.
CIFFA has urged the government to do everything in its power to ensure this bargaining process is well-supported and that the government is proactive and swift in taking action to protect Canadian business and consumers. The association believes that even the mere threat of a labour disruption will undermine the economic and social well-being of Canada. Furthermore, nearly 20% of Canada’s trade passes through the west coast ports involved in these negotiations, which means that no business or individual in Canada will be unaffected if the negotiations break down and service is interrupted.
In the past, shippers have begun to divert imports and exports to U.S. facilities rather than wait to be damaged by a service interruption. Once they have shifted to a different jurisdiction, bringing them back to Canada and the Canadians who handle their goods may be difficult. CIFFA believes that the Canadian government has successfully addressed many supply chain challenges over the past several years, and it urges the government to be proactive and swift in taking action to protect Canadian business and consumers.
In conclusion, CIFFA is calling on the government to ensure that the bargaining process is well-supported and that the government takes action to protect Canadian businesses and consumers. The association believes that the potential impact of a labour disruption on Canada’s economy is significant, and it urges the government to be proactive and swift in taking action to address this issue. As a member of CIFFA, Prime Freight Logistics shares these concerns and believes that it is essential to protect Canadian businesses and consumers from the potential impact of a labour disruption at Canada’s West Coast ports.
As a leading Freight Forwarder in North America, Prime Freight Logistics is committed to ensuring that the supply chain is operating smoothly and efficiently. We are monitoring the situation closely and will keep our clients informed of any developments that may affect their shipments.