August 19, 2020
The Honourable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Labour
140 Promenade du Portage Gatineau, Quebec
We are writing to you on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of businesses whose supply chains directly or indirectly rely on operations at the Port of Montreal regarding the strike mandate that has been executed by CUPE Local 375. As you know, the indefinite strike by members of the union has paralyzed any economic activity coming through the port since August 10, 2020.
As the largest port in Eastern Canada and the only container port on the St. Lawrence River, the Port of Montreal is integral to the success of all sectors of the economy. It is a key link in supply routes to Eastern Canada and Ontario. The Port generates approximately $2.6 billion in economic activity and sees about $100 billion worth of goods pass through its docks every year. From food to manufacturing to automotive parts to retail, all economic sectors are reeling from the effects of this strike.
Because of the labour action, many operations have had to shift to other Canadian ports as well as some in the United States, which hampers the Port of Montreal’s competitiveness and economic viability. The Port is central to Canada’s economic ecosystem to not only move goods and services outside the country, but also import them from international partners.
Canada is already in the middle of a devastating economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Labour action makes a bad problem worse, not only for businesses but also for the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods are at risk because of the strike.
Every day the strike goes on is another day without any economic activity, which only impedes COVID-19 recovery efforts. We are calling on the federal government to use all tools at its disposal to facilitate a dialogue between the Maritime Employers Association and the
longshoremen’s union in order to arrive at terms of a negotiated agreement. We would be happy to support any efforts by the federal government and invite you and your officials to attend a virtual roundtable with affected businesses and associations from across the country at your convenience.
Hon. Perrin Beatty, P.C., O.C. President and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Luke Chapman Interim President Beer Canada
Senior Vice-President, National Affairs and Partnerships
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
President and General Manager Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating
Bruce Rodgers Executive Director
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association
President and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
Ron Lemaire President
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
President and Chief Executive Officer Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association
President and Chief Executive Officer Electro-Federation Canada
President and Chief Executive Officer Forest Producers Association of Canada
Bob Ballantyne President
Freight Management Association of Canada
President and Chief Executive Officer Mining Association of Canada
President and Chief Executive Officer Mississauga Board of Trade
Diane J. Brisebois
President and Chief Executive Officer Retail Council of Canada