October 22, 2023 | Circular No. 11589

Dear Member,

Today at  0001 ET, UNIFOR took a strike position with the Saint Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and work ceased at that time. The system underwent an orderly shut-down as per SLMC’s operational plan to ensure that all vessels are in a safe position, and the system remains closed until further notice. The formal notification from SLSMC may be found here.

In this morning’s update to industry, SLSMC advised that talks with UNIFOR are continuing today, and SLSMC is pressing the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) for an expedited ruling on the movement of grain as per provisions in the Canada Labour Code. SLSMC have also indicated they will await the decision from the CIRB before making a decision on whether or not Management will take any steps to operate the system in a very limited capacity.

SLSMC operational teams are working on resumption plans, developing the rules for the order of turn, etc. but they were not in a position to provide further details today.

Regarding next steps, the Federation will once again engage with the Ministers of Labour and Transport, including the Prime Minister, with an emphasis for the government to act immediately to ensure services are restored immediately to this vital trade corridor. We once again encourage members to send your own individual letters to the government to express how negatively your businesses are being affected by this situation.

Daily calls with SLSMC are continuing. Please contact Farah Ahmad (fahmad@shipfed.ca) if you wish to be added to the distribution list.


Chris Hall,
President & CEO