‘Economic stakes are too high’: Premiers Ford, Legault call for swift end to St. Lawrence Seaway strike

The St. Lawrence Seaway shut down on Sunday, Oct. 22 as workers begin strike action. – Photo via Unifor

In response to the ongoing St. Lawrence Seaway strike, on Oct. 26 Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier François Legault issued a joint statement underscoring the economic repercussions resulting from the labour disruption.

The premiers state that last year, nearly $17 billion worth of goods traversed this vital trade artery, emphasizing its pivotal role in the economies of both provinces.

“The labour disruption that has closed the St. Lawrence Seaway is risking significant harm to our economies,” reads the statement. “Businesses and people across the country will soon be feeling the broader impacts if this disruption continues.”

While the premiers are “pleased” the parties will be returning to the table later this week, they stress that Canadians “need all sides to come to an agreement right away.” 

“If that doesn’t happen, the federal government needs to use whatever tools it has available to support a resolution that is fair for workers and brings this strike to an end as quickly as possible.”

The premiers cited the previous B.C. port strike earlier in the year as a cautionary precedent, emphasizing the exorbitant economic losses.

“The economic stakes are too high, with tens of millions of dollars lost every day the seaway continues to be closed.”

The premiers concluded by stating that “the federal government has a responsibility to act urgently to protect and guarantee our supply chains, including the cross-border movement of essential goods across the Canada-U.S. border.”

The seaway has been shut down since Sunday, Oct. 22, when labour negotiations broke down between Unifor, which represents the 361 workers involved, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC). Read more about it here.

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