October 23, 2023 | Circular No. 11590

Dear Member,

You will find below a summary of recent developments related to the Seaway strike, which began at 0001 hours on Sunday morning:

User Information Meeting

The SLSMC advised the following at this morning’s user information meeting:

  • Negotiations have been at a standstill for the last two days, due to the fact that Unifor has not yet returned to the bargaining table.
  • Seaway management had conversations with Ministers O’Regan (Labour) and Rodriguez (Transport) yesterday, both of whom are very engaged in this issue and appear to be fully aware of the stakes involved, despite the very limited public comments they have made so far.
  • The Seaway is still awaiting a response from the Canadian Industrial Relations Board regarding the implementation of the grain clause in the Canada Labour Code, and although they have been advised that the CIRB will be responding shortly, a timeline has not been provided.
  • Tomorrow’s information call will be at 8:30 eastern as per usual practice.  Please let us know if you would like to participate but have not received the link from the Seaway.

SFC Actions

  • We have opened up a line of dialogue with the CEO of the SLSMC, as well as the international shipping representative on the SLMC Board, with a view to gaining a a better understanding of the issues involved in the negotiating process.
  • Earlier today, we sent a LETTER urging the Ministers of Labour and Transport to use every tool at the government’s disposal to bring the strike to an end.  We also sent a similar LETTER to the Prime Minister’s office.
  • We have joined forces with the Chamber of Marine Commerce and les Armateurs du St. Laurent to engage government from the collective perspective of the three major associations whose members are impacted by this strike.  Messaging in the form of an open letter to the Minister of Labour and a possible press release will be issued over the next day or two (we will provide members with copies when available).
  • We have signed a collective letter to the government from members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, who together represent a broad cross section of Canada’s business community and industrial sectors.  The letter is expected to be issued later today and we will provide members with a copy tomorrow.

We will be undertaking additional actions in the coming days and will continue to very strongly urge the government to take the necessary measures to bring this strike to and end as quickly as possible.


Karen Kancens
Vice President