Chemistry industry urges government and CN to work together to get goods moving again

November 19, 2019

OTTAWA – The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) urges the Government of Canada, Canadian National Railway (CN) and Teamsters Canada to work together to prevent serious damage to the Canadian economy and get critical goods moving in Canada again.

“The current work stoppage is extremely detrimental to the Canadian economy and to our member-companies who rely exclusively on rail to ship roughly 80 per cent of their production,” said Bob Masterson, President and CEO of CIAC.

“Fully $38 million worth of industrial chemical products rely on CN’s network to get to their destinations every single day and that the economic impact of the work stoppage is $1 million per day per facility that is shutdown. Some of those goods are also essential to core public services such as water treatment. We urge both sides to consider the far-reaching and urgent economic implications the strike activity and work stoppage at CN is having on industry.”

In many cases, chemical plants are continuous operations that require reliable, uninterrupted rail service to produce and deliver essential products to customers. In the event of an interruption, they quickly run out of storage capacity and incur shortages for incoming raw materials.

The impacts of a CN strike are immediate, severe, and long-lasting as there are no viable alternatives for shipments. Many CIAC members are captive to CN’s network. Even those served by both CN and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have been told that CP’s network is not in a position to take on extra capacity.

CIAC believes that a negotiated solution is always the preferred outcome. Should negotiations fail, however, the Government of Canada must be prepared to act quickly and in the national interest to order the parties to return to work and the negotiating table.

About CIAC:

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) is the Association for leaders in the chemistry sector in Canada; a $58 billion industry. The Association represents more than 60 members and partners across the country. Members of CIAC are signatories to Responsible Care® – the Association’s UN-recognized sustainability initiative.