Several organizations in Saskatchewan are calling on the federal government to help resolve the ongoing dock strike on the West Coast.
British Columbia dockworkers have been on strike for more than a week and concerns are growing among industries that rely heavily on exports.
For the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, the economic consequences are top of mind.
“About 44 percent of our trade goes through the port of Vancouver-Fraser, and that represents about $17 billion in commodities going through, so this is a very significant issue,” said Prabha Ramaswamy, chief executive officer. of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.
Ramaswamy said that without alternative ports with the same capacity to move the amount of goods exported by the province, options such as rerouting through the United States would mean more costs for exporters.
“We have what the world needs, but getting it to international markets is a challenge, always has been a challenge, and the challenge has been compounded by the strike,” Ramaswamy explained.
On June 20, provincial road and trade ministers Jeremy Cockrill sent a letter to the federal government on the implications should a strike go ahead, saying that a labor dispute would create bottlenecks in the supply chain, causing scarcity of goods and rising costs. for business.
“We implore you to explore all possible avenues to avoid a work stoppage, as the consequences would be far-reaching and detrimental to the well-being of our province and our country as a whole,” the letter to the federal government said.
In a tweet, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said that “the federal government should explore all options to end this costly and financially damaging strike.”
Now that the strike is in full effect, Brad Sigurdson of the Saskatchewan Mining Association said a prolonged strike could lead to restrictions or shutdowns.
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“We can’t get our products to market without these ports and constantly having these outages is very daunting, to say the least; very detrimental to the workers and everything,” Sigurdson said.
Since Saskatchewan is the world’s largest exporter of potash and fertilizer, both the Chamber and the Mining Association echo the province’s call for the feds to look at options to bring the strike to a mutual agreement before more economic problems arise.
While in Calgary for a meeting with Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will continue to press both sides to end the dock strike.
Trudeau said he is aware of the “impact” the strike has had on Prairie businesses and said the best deal to be found is at the negotiating table.
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