Union Issues Strike Notice To CP Rail

Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) has received a formal strike notice from the union representing its employees, a move that could lead to a nationwide work stoppage beginning this Sunday (March 20).

CP Rail had earlier issued a 72-hour notice to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference of its plan to lockout almost 3,000 employees on March 20 if the union and company are unable to come to a negotiated settlement or agree to binding arbitration.

The Teamsters union responded by issuing a strike notice to CP Rail. The two sides remain at odds over more than two dozen issues, including wages, benefits and pensions.

Canadian businesses are calling on Ottawa to prevent a potential work stoppage at CP Rail, which could further hamper companies recovering from COVID-19 restrictions and lead to greater supply chain issues.

Roughly 45 industry groups have banded together and say that any disruption in rail transport will hinder Canada's freight capacity and hurt the broader economy as it grapples with inflation, product shortages, rising fuel costs and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The groups behind the statement include the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and the Business Council of Canada.

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan has said that Ottawa is “monitoring the situation closely” and wants both parties to come to negotiated settlement.

Canada's agriculture industry has also expressed concern about a potential work stoppage at CP Rail. Farm groups have warned that any delay on the rail lines will impact everything from shipments of fertilizer during the crucial spring seeding season, as well as deliveries of emergency livestock feed to drought-affected parts of the prairie provinces.