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Grain shippers welcome action to avoid rail work stoppage


Winnipeg, MB — Grain shippers welcomed news that a work stoppage at CP has been avoided following a recommendation from federal officials and the parties to hold a ratification vote. A work stoppage this week on CP would have had a devastating impact on grain shippers, farmers and end use customers in a year that has already been very challenging.

“We would like to thank Minister Hadju, the federal mediators, CP and the unions for working hard to help avoid a disruption in service,” said Wade Sobkowich, Executive Director of the Western Grain Elevator Association (WGEA). “Minister Hadju’s interaction on this demonstrates the Government’s understanding of the need to ensure that the Canadian economy does not suffer from an avoidable rail work stoppage.”

Rail service is essential to get grain off the Prairies to customers and ports across North America. Challenges with reliable rail service impact Canada’s ability to get grain to market, driving down the rural economy and preventing Canada from taking full advantage of the growing demand for grains and oilseeds around the world. Rail service was unacceptably low throughout the winter of 2017/18, and a work stoppage at CP would have made it impossible to salvage the shipping season.

“We hope that this is not just a delay, but a step forward in resolving this labour negotiation,” added Sobkowich. “The impacts of a work stoppage would have hit Canadians that are employed in industries that rely on rail the hardest, rather than either CP management or the unions, and we applaud the government and the parties for getting an acceptable package on the table.”