Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) and Manitoba Pork are calling for an immediate end to supply chain disruptions in Canada’s West coast ports due to the ongoing strike between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA).
“The current strike has impacted agri-food goods that rely on container shipping, such as pulses and livestock produced here in Manitoba, to reach destinations across the globe, and employees responsible for ensuring the transportation of these products should be keeping our supply chain flowing while negotiations are ongoing,” said KAP President, Jill Verwey.
Manitoba’s hog sector has been especially at risk during this labour stoppage and the days leading up to it, given the magnitude of Manitoba pork exports that travel through the Port of Vancouver.
“Manitoba exports about $730,000,000 worth of pork to Asia each year out of West coast ports”, noted Manitoba Pork Chair, Rick Préjet. “Some of our most valuable exports are chilled pork moving into premium markets like Japan. Chilled pork cannot be even slightly delayed in getting to market. Not only does this labour disruption put current sales at risk, recurring port shutdowns harm Canada’s long-term reputation as a reliable supplier.”
Both KAP and Manitoba Pork sent letters last week to ILWU and BCMEA to raise these concerns, as well as to Canada’s Minister of Labour, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, who recently has given a federal mediator 24 hours to send him recommendations to end the dispute after eleven days of work stoppage.
“We appreciate Minister O’Regan’s directive to the federal mediator, but in contrast to the back-to-work legislation that was brought forward to address the Port of Montreal strike in 2021, the federal government has refused to take direct action that would end the strike and the associated impacts on our supply chain,” said KAP General Manager, Brenna Mahoney.
“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 more swift and decisive actions in the future to mitigate disruptions in Canada’s supply chain and impacts on our international reputation as a reliable producer of high quality, safe agricultural products,” concluded Mahoney.
For more information:
Colin Hornby, KAP Manager of Communications & Stakeholder Relations | 204-898-2641 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Joey Dearborn, Manitoba Pork Communications and Website Coordinator | 204-232-4916 | email@example.com