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Labour Disruption at Vital Seaway Untenable for Jobs, Economy, and Quality of Life

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is calling for swift resolution to labour negotiations between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and UNIFOR to avoid a labour disruption that has the potential to dramatically impact the economy, jobs, and transportation supply chain in domestic, cross-border, and global markets.

Per a recently released independent economic study, Seaway infrastructure is one of the most vital conduits for trade throughout North America, supporting $12.3 Billion CAD in economic activity annually.  In addition, Seaway operations annually support:

  • almost 67,000 direct and indirect jobs;
  • approximately $5.4 billion CAD in wages; and
  • moves 36.3 million tonnes of key commodities valued at $16.7 Billion CAD.

On a broader scale, shipping throughout the entire Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river, including the Seaway, supports $66.1 Billion of economic activity throughout the continent.

Clearly, the potential impacts of a strike on supply chain resiliency highlight the importance of marine shipping on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway, and the need to resolve a dispute swiftly.  Doing so will ensure critical commodities such as grain (which is vital to the food supply), cement, stone, gypsum (which are core to construction), and iron ore (which is essential to steelmaking and the auto sector) continue moving, supporting jobs, and meeting the needs of consumers and industries both domestically, and globally.

“The Seaway has a long and respected reputation for reliability in its operations, and is a key conduit for commodities that support our quality of life, so it is the marine industry’s natural expectation that the Seaway will resolve this matter with minimal disruption, and with the support of the Government of Canada, if needed,” said Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “A protracted disruption would certainly bring into sharp focus just how much life in North America relies on the Seaway as the heartbeat of the economy. When you consider the billions in economic activity at stake, the tens of thousands employed through Seaway activity, and the shippers, businesses, and consumers reliant on the system to move their goods, not having the Seaway open is just untenable.”

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 447 5401