July 21, 2023 | Circular No. 11561

Dear Member,

Please find below an update on developments related to the BC labour situation:

Status of Tentative Deal Between ILWU and BCMEA

  • The ILWU announced yesterday afternoon that its caucus (which is made up of approximately 75 members) would begin meeting at 9:00 AM (PST)  this morning to decide whether or not to send the tentative agreement with the BCMEA to its wider membership for ratification.  As a reminder, this follows last Tuesday’s decision by the same caucus NOT to recommend ratification of the deal that was then on the table.
  • There are no details as to when today’s meeting of the ILWU cacus will conclude or when its decision will be announced.
  • Although there appears to be some confusion as to whether the caucus is discussing a new deal or the same deal that was negotiated last week, we have no confirmation from any party (including the BCMEA) that a new deal is on the table.
  • Should the caucus decide to send the deal to the wider ILWU membership for ratification, it will likely take several days to organize and carry out the  actual voting process.

Operational Impacts

  • The Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert both report that operations have returned to normal, with no issues related to labour.
  • Both CN and CKPC also report a gradual return to fluidity, as they work to clear cargo backlogs that have accumulated over the last several weeks.
  • CN has also highlighted the need to reallocate some assets (locomotives) from the western part of its network to the US and east coast, where demand is also high.

Transport Canada

  • The Minister of Transport has convened an industry roundtable on Monday, July 24 to examine the impacts of the recent labour disruptions and identify soluitons for making the supply chain more resilient in the future.  The Federation’s President will be participating in this forum, and we will report back to members on the substance of these discussions next week.
  • Barring any unexpected developments, Transport Canada will not be holding its daily operational call with stakeholders this weekend, but will reconvene again on Monday.


Karen Kancens
Vice President