In a letter sent today to the federal government, the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) expressed concern about the imminent strike at CN that could begin as early as May 30, 2017.

“Daily chemistry industry shipments on the Canadian National Railway (CN) network are estimated at $25 million and a complete shut down of service would significantly impact our operations,” said Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO. “At a time when the federal government is so focused on maintaining the strength of the Canadian economy, it must be prepared to act to prevent a shutdown on the important CN rail infrastructure”

A work stoppage would be extremely detrimental to the Canadian economy and to CIAC member- companies who rely exclusively on rail to ship roughly 80 per cent of their production.  In many cases, chemical plants are continuous operations that require reliable, uninterrupted rail service to produce and deliver essential products to customers. A typical large chemistry company can ship 80 cars per day. In the event of an interruption, they quickly run out of storage capacity to ship out products and incur shortages of incoming raw materials.

Chemistry in Canada is a $53 billion industry and provides vital inputs to other key sectors including energy, housing, automobiles, pulp and paper and consumer products. When plants cannot deliver product, and are forced to reduce output, these other areas of the economy are also impacted. There are health and safety implications as well, given that many municipalities rely on our member-companies to supply chemicals for essential services such as water treatment.  Shutting down a chemical plant involves financial and safety risks and the community impacts in terms of jobs can be significant (one job in the chemistry sector supports another five jobs elsewhere in the economy).

CIAC believes that a negotiated solution is always the preferred outcome, but if this fails, steps need to be taken quickly to prevent immediate economic repercussions. The Association is ready to assist the government throughout this process to prevent economic loss and damage to Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier in global supply chains.

The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC) is the voice of Canada’s $53 billion chemistry industry and represents more than 50 members and partners across the country. Members of CIAC are signatories to Responsible Care® – the Association’s U.N.-recognized sustainability initiative.