CFIB calls for quick end to CN Rail Strike

November 22, 2019, 10:40 am


The CN Rail strike, which is now on its fourth day, poses a threat for small businesses that rely on its services to send and receive products and essential materials.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) urges all parties to find a solution to end the strike quickly and make sure goods and products can continue to be shipped.

“A long strike could really hurt the economy, even trigger layoffs and closures. This is especially true for small businesses, which often have fewer financial resources to weather a long service disruption,” said Dan Kelly, President of CFIB.

“Unfortunately, the current CN strike means that businesses are left with few options to get their products to market, which may result in delayed and cancelled shipments.”

The agriculture industry is among the most affected; farmers are facing a tough harvest season with winter weather hitting early in many provinces, while grain producers are also caught in the middle of a trade dispute with China which has caused significant uncertainties.

“The last thing farmers need is a drawn out labour dispute at CN that would hit their bottom line further,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Western Canada & Agri-business.

“Any disruptions to grain movement allows our global competitors the opportunity to gain a foothold with our customers. Transportation issues like this reduce our agri-business members’ competitiveness on the world stage.”

The impact of the strike is also being felt in various other industries that rely heavily on rail service, such as the oil industry, mining and forestry. Other industries that use rail services, such as manufacturing, retail, transportation and wholesale, will likely start to feel the impact of the CN strike in the coming days.

“CFIB is calling on CN Rail and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference to quickly reach an agreement before the impact on the economy gets worse,” added Kelly.

“If the parties cannot reach an agreement by early next week, CFIB calls on the government to resume Parliament and pass back-to-work legislation.”