June 17, 2024 | Circular No. 11678

Dear Member,

Further to our previous circular letters on this subject, please find below an update on labour negotiations impacting rail, longshore and CBSA workers.

Rail Sector – CN / CPKC

  • The Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) is still considering the question  of whether certain activities should be deemed as essential in the event of a rail labour disruption (as per the referral filed by the Minister of Labour on May 10).
  • Both CN and CP have now filed their responses to the CIRB on this matter, and although it is unclear how long it will take for the Board to issue a final  decision, previous experience suggests that a decision may not be rendered until mid-July or later.
  • Although a legal strike or lock-out cannot occur until at least 72-hours after the CIRB has rendered a decision, CPKC has requested that CIRB extend this timeline to 30 days, in order to provide stakeholders additional time to prepare for any potential work stoppage.  A response from the CIRB regarding this request is now awaited.
  • The TCRC (Teamsters Canada Rail Union) submitted a proposal last week requesting that the bargaining timelines of CPKC and CN be staggered by two weeks to allow for potential staggered work stoppages.  However, this proposal was ultimately rejected by both railways.
  • To read the railways’ most recent bargaining updates, please select these links:  CN update   CPKC update 

Longshore Sector – West Coast

  • West coast longshore workers represented by ILWU local 514 have voted to reject the BCMEA’s most recent offer for a new four-year collective agreement.
  • Although the union has been in a legal strike position since last month, no strike notice has been issued, nor have there been any labour disruptions at BC ports.
  • In a separate development, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) has scheduled a hearing beginning July 2 to consider the BCMEA’s complaint filed last month against the union’s conduct at the bargaining table.

Longshore Sector – Port of Montreal

  • Mediated negotiations between CUPE (the union representing approximately 1,000 longshore workers at the Port of Montreal) and the Maritime Employers Association are taking place on a weekly basis, with the next session scheduled for June 18.
  • The union has not yet held a strike vote, nor has one been scheduled.


  • The union representing 9,000 border service officers employed by CBSA has reached a tentative agreement with the Treasury Board, thereby averting a strike that was threatened to begin on June 14.
  • An on-line vote will be taking place in the coming weeks, and if ratified, the agreement will be retroactive to June 2022 and will remain in place until June 2026.
We will continue to monitor developments related to all the above-noted negotiating processes, and will revert with additional news as warranted.


Karen Kancens
Vice President