June 28, 2023 | Circular No. 11541

Dear Member,

Earlier today, the BCMEA received formal 72-hour strike notice from ILWU Canada with respect to the ongoing longshore labour negotiations on the west coast.  Consequently, the west coast longshore workers represented by the ILWU will be in a legal strike position as of 8:00 AM (Pacific time) on Saturday, July 1.

Despite the above, the parties are scheduled to continue bargaining with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), with the next round of talks scheduled for tomorrow, June 29.

The strike notice and potential strike action will not impact employees required to service grain vessels as per Section 87.7(1) of the Canada Labour Code.  Although the BCMEA has indicated its intention to also service cruise vessels, it is currently unclear whether the ILWU will provide service to that segment of the industry.

We will be participating in a meeting of leaders from Canada’s business community hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce tomorrow afternoon, with a view to identifying a common industry response to this situation.  We will also be sending a letter to the Ministers of Labour and Transport highlighting the need for the government to do everything in its power to assist the parties in reaching a negotiated settement, and urging the Ministers to be ready to step in should negotiations fail.

We have also had a preliminary discussion on this issue with the Port of Vancouver, which has confirmed that it will be providing stakeholders with daily updates on the impact of the evolving situation on port operations.  We will be sure to share these updates with members and to provide any additional information as it becomes available.


Karen Kancens
Vice President