February 1, 2022 | Circular No. 11389

Dear Member,

Further to CL 11386, the Federation participated in yesterday’s National Supply Chain Summit, which was hosted by Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, along with International Trade Minister Mary Ng, Innovation  Minister François Philippe-Champagne, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.

The summit brought together a wide range of industry leaders and association representatives to discuss the challenges facing Canada’s supply chains, and identify potential solutions that can be achieved in both the immediate and longer terms.  Although participants offered a broad array of views and recommendations on how to make Canada’s supply chains more modern and efficient, below provides a summary of some of the most common and interesting themes that emerged:

Transportation Infrastructure

  • Infrastructure is the backbone of a fluid and reliable transportation system;
  • However, Canada needs a more strategic approach to infrastructure investment that looks at supply chain benefits in a more holistic way;
  • There are many efficiency gains to be achieved by engaging in better infrastructure planning and better sharing of data;
  • Connecting data and developing digitized information flows should be a key priority when considering future infrastructure investments;
  • Canada must focus on increasing the resiliency of its existing infrastructure (role of data/digitization) and on building more resiliently for the future.

Supply Chains

  • There is no single supply chain as such;
  • Rather, there are many supply chains throughout the country based on supply, demand, routing, etc. (e.g. the railways carried 600 carloads of cattle feed into Alberta in 2020 versus over 8,000 carloads in 2021 – this represents a new supply chain with its own needs and realities);
  • It is important to view each supply chain separately, as each has its own unique set of challenges, circumstances and stakeholders;
  • The best way of identifying chokepoints within supply chains is to understand the flow of products from origin to destination and where data is exchanged – once these chokepoints have been identified, work can begin on developing more global solutions;
  • Also important to remember that there is never just one solution – we must look at the full range of possible solutions that might exist.


  • Canada needs to accelerate efforts to leverage the power of data and artificial intelligence to help address transportation bottlenecks and make Canadian companies more competitive;
  • We must collaborate more closely with the manufacturing sector to increase supply chain resiliency;
  • The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry is leading a strategic initiative to make satellite imagery more open to Canadians, which has potential applications for shipping, supply chain management, disaster mitigation, and a host of related fields;
  • Canada’s innovation agenda must also focus on the greening of supply chains as a key priority (which underlines the importance of stability, predictability and traceability as key values);
  • Canada continues to make significant investments in the “supercluster concept”; i.e. Scale AI (Montreal), Digital (Vancouver), Oceans (Maritimes);
  • The concept of “trusted partners” is also important to develop – what are the critical goods and products needed to make sure we are more resilient?

Next Steps

Transport Minister Alghabra announced a number of concrete next steps at the conclusion of the summit, including the following:

  • The establishment of a Supply Chain Task Force composed of industry leaders who will provide advice to the Minister on short-term and long-term actions to address supply chain challenges (intent is to develop an action plan by the summer);
  • Continued stakeholder engagement through the creation of sectoral and regional round tables (led by Parliamentary Secretaries) focusing on specific supply chain issues (details still to be announced);
  • Development of an on-line portal for stakeholders and businesses to provide input and recommendations on how to address supply chain issues going forward.

In addition to the above, the Minister announced the launch of a $50 million targeted call for proposals under the National Trade Corridors Fund to support the development of projects aimed at relieving supply chain congestion at Canadian ports in the immediate term.

Please select this LINK to read the press release that all of the Ministers involved in the summit issued after the event.

We will provide members with updates on all of the above (including areas where we will seek to be directly involved) as more information becomes available.


Karen Kancens
Vice President