Further solutions needed to prevent disruptions to critical exports

Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) and Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) welcome the agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) that will end the ongoing shutdown of BC Ports and call upon port activities to resume today.

“For 13 days, our west coast ports have been shuttered,” noted KAP General Manager, Brenna Mahoney. “The disruption to food and agriculture supply chains will last for months longer, costing farmers and processors millions of dollars. Damage to Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier will last years. This cannot be allowed to happen again.”

“Manitoba’s hog sector has been hit especially hard during this disruption, given the volume and time-sensitivity of pork shipments out of west coast ports,” stated Manitoba Pork General Manager, Cam Dahl. “Manitoba exports about $730,000,000 worth of pork to Asia, including high-valued chilled pork that cannot be even slightly delayed. Thousands of jobs from across Manitoba have been put at risk.”

Both KAP and Manitoba Pork call upon the Government of Canada to rapidly develop a recovery plan to limit ongoing supply-chain disruptions. Priority needs to be given to high-value and perishable products waiting at port positions. Both organizations ask that the plan be developed through consultations with processors and exporters to ensure the right recovery priorities are set. 

In addition, KAP and Manitoba Pork are calling on the ILWU and BCMEA to develop a new approach to resolving contract disputes that will preclude the potential for compete shutdowns of west coast shipments.

“It would be prudent for Minister O’Regan to engage the expertise of the federal mediator, who played a crucial role in resolving this conflict, to formulate strategies aimed at averting future disruptions,” stated Mahoney. Some options include:

  • Declaring food and agriculture shipments as essential;
  • Initiating mediation prior to strikes or lockouts occurring; and
  • Implementing staggered contracts to ensure operational continuity in impacted ports during times of disruption

“The Canadian supply chain and reputation of the reliability of our products abroad run the risk of being significantly damaged in international markets. We urge the federal government to take decisive action to minimize the supply-chain disruptions from the current stoppage and to prevent future disruptions from occurring,” concluded Dahl and Mahoney.


For more information:

Colin Hornby, KAP Manager of Communications & Stakeholder Relations | 204-898-2641 | colin.hornby@kap.ca

Joey Dearborn, Manitoba Pork Communications and Website Coordinator | 204-232-4916 | jdearborn@manitobapork.com