July 1, 2023 | Circular No. 11546

Dear Member,

As per the attached NOTICE from the BC Maritime Employers Association, the west coast longshore workers represented by ILWU Canada undertook strike action as of 8:00 AM (PST) today.  According to information provided by the Port of Vancouver, picketing is occurring at all major terminals, including Centerm, Vanterm, Deltaport, FSD and Neptune.

It is our understanding that negotiations between the BCMEA and the ILWU have been ongoing since Thursday morning with the assistance of the Federal Mediation Service, and are continuing today.  Public statements issued by Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan indicate that he has met with representatives from both parties and remains convinced that a negotiated settlement is the best path forward.

As previously reported, cruise ships will continue to be serviced in Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island despite the work stoppage, as will grain shipments, which are protected from labour disruptions under the Canada Labour Code.

Port of Vancouver Update

The Port of Vancouver has issued a bulletin outlining the measures it is taking to manage arrivals and anchorage assignments in order to maintain port fluidity, ensure the safe movement of vessels, and manage anchorage capacity for terminals not affected by strike activity. Specific measures include the following:

  • Inner Harbour: Maximum stay of 48-hours will be strictly enforced, and assignment will be limited to bunkering, fumigation, staging area, or emergency situations.
  • English Bay and Indian Arm: The maximum stay limit of 7-days will be lifted. All anchorages will be reserved to support operations at terminals not affected by strike activity, partly loaded vessels that are delayed due to labour action, and larger vessels that can only be accommodated in English Bay.
  • Southern Gulf Islands: These anchorages will be assigned per the Interim protocol for waiting vessels; a balanced use of these anchorages across the South Coast BC region and commodity sectors will be ensured.

Transport Canada Stakeholder Group

Transport Canada has convened a stakeholder working group to meet on a daily basis to share information on the operational impacts of the labour disruption.  The group includes representatives from Transport Canada, CBSA, the provincial government, west coast ports, terminal operators, off-dock providers, the railways and shipping line representatives, including the Federation.  Below is summary of some of the main points raised during today’s meeting:

  • Although cruise ships are continuing to be serviced, this is occurring under work-to-rule conditions
  • Picketing at the Neptune terminal is impeding the ability of some Cargill employees to access their workplace due to their shared access with Neptune (the Port has undertaken to look into this)
  • Both CN and CP have implemented temporary embargoes and will hold bulk cargoes at origin
  • Off-dock facilities are closed for the weekend (which is normal practice), but will be open as of Monday

Members with operational issues or questions arising from the work stoppage should contact the undersigned, as we would be happy to share these with the working group in its upcoming meetings.


We will continue to monitor the labour disruption as it evolves and provide members with updated information as it becomes available.


Karen Kancens
Vice President