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Canadian maritime coalition urges government to rapidly intervene in Seaway strike


A coalition of Canada’s leading maritime associations today urged the Canadian government “to use all the means at its disposal” to end the strike launched Sunday by Canadian workers on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway is the linchpin of our Canadian and American supply chains, ensuring vital fluidity,” indicated an open letter sent to Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Labor, and Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Transport.

The signatories were: Louise Bédard, CEO, St. Lawrence Shipowners (ASL); Bruce R. Burrows, President and CEO, Chamber of Maritime Commerce (CMC); Chris Hall, President and CEO, Shipping Federation of Canada; Steve Salmons, President, Ontario Marine Council; and Mathieu St-Pierre, President and CEO, St. Lawrence Economic Development Council (Sodes).

“This strike will result in excessive costs, labor-related issues, and increased pollution, which will affect all sectors,” stated the industry coalition. “Canadians and Americans rely on this infrastructure for efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly trade. Maintaining its continuous operation is vital to avoid devastating consequences.

“In this critical time, we must emphasize how fundamental the Seaway is to the economies and stability of our two nations. It is imperative that the government intervenes to resolve this situation as quickly as possible. The Canadian maritime industry is ready to collaborate to minimize the consequences of this strike, but it is essential for the St. Lawrence Seaway to remain operational and continue serving our communities, from east to west and from north to south. We urge you to use all means at your disposal to end this strike and protect our economy, jobs, and essential services.”

The letter further stated: “The infrastructure of the St. Lawrence Seaway is one of the most vital commercial arteries in North America, with an annual economic impact of 12.3 billion Canadian dollars. This infrastructure is an essential source of support for our economy, generating nearly 67,000 direct and indirect jobs, with approximately 5.4 billion Canadian dollars in wages. Each year, it transports 36.3 million tonnes of essential goods valued at 16.7 billion Canadian dollars. It is essential to note that the Canadian maritime industry is a cornerstone of our economy. The current strike jeopardizes billions of dollars in economic activity, wages, jobs, and also has serious environmental and social impacts.”

(Photo Unifor union)