October 20, 2023 | Circular No. 11587

Dear Member,

You will find below a summary of recent developments with respect to the labour situation in the St. Lawrence Seaway:

SLSMC Daily Information Meeting

During the course of this morning’s meeting, the SLSMC advised that although negotiations are ongoing, exchanges between the parties have “hardened” and “increased in intensity,” making it all the more important to ensure that an orderly shutdown process is in place, in the event that a work stoppage does occur at 00:01 hours on October 22.  The SLSMC also advised that another 24 hours of negotiating time  had been scheduled as of this morning, with the expectation that additional hours will be added thereafter.

Today’s call was also attended by Robert Dick, the Executive Director of Transport Canada’s Supply Chain Office, who reiterated the government’s commitment to the collective bargaining process and its view that the best deals are made at the negotiating table.  He also noted that the government is very interested in hearing directly from businesses about the consequences that a work stoppage would have on their operations.

The SLSMC will continue to hold daily calls at 8:30 AM (eastern time), including on the weekend.  Please contact us if you wish to join these calls but are not on the SLSMC’s distribution list.

Advocacy Efforts

At our urging, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce convened a meeting of its Transportation Committee earlier this afternoon, at which Chris Hall provided an overview of the labour situation and its potential impacts.  The meeting was attended by stakeholders from a wide range of industry groups, including shippers, producers, exporters, importers, ports and other industry associations.  As a result of the information exchanged at this meeting, the Chamber will be issuing a press release on this issue later today, and will also be sending a collective letter to the government (signed by all interested stakeholders) on the consequences that a work stoppage would have on the Canadian economy.

We continue to urge members to send their own letters to the government outlining the concrete ways in which their businesses will be impacted by a labour disruption.  We recommend that such letters be sent to both Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez (TC.MinisterofTransport-MinistredesTransports.TC@tc.gc.ca) and Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan (MinistrePT-LPMinister@labour-travail.gc.ca), with a copy to us if possible.  Please feel free to use the letter we sent yesterday as a template (see CL 11586 for a copy).


We will continue to monitor all of the above and provide members with updates as warranted.


Karen Kancens
Vice President