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Agriculture Industry continues to warn about high cost for CP Rail work stoppage

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The Canadian Oilseed Processors Association is calling on the Federal Government to take early action in bringing the CP Rail work stoppage to an end.

The group saying the ongoing situation will have a detrimental effect on their industry.

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Executive Director Chris Vervaet says the impact  will be detrimental to processors, farmers and world-wide customers.

Vervaet says COPA members will be forced to curb production, and will experience delays in meeting customer contracts.

Meantime, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Chair Daryl Fransoo says they hold the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference accountable for the work stoppage.

“At a time when the Canadian economy has been reeling from supply chain problems, COVID-19, the highest inflation in over a decade, and now the invasion of Ukraine, this lockout falls on the shoulders of the TCRC.”

The Wheat Growers are calling on all parties in the House of Commons to immediately initiate “Back to Work Legislation”.

He notes that farmers are looking for the shipment of seed, fertilizer and other inputs in the coming weeks in order to start seeding, while the livestock industry requires the regular shipping of corn and other feed to ensure cattle and pork are fed.

The group notes any delays will put Canadian food security at risk.

The Alberta Beef Producers also calling on their Provincial Government to demand action from Ottawa. 

Chair, Dr Melanie Wowk says cattle producers are reliant on rail transport for access to feed, and need the government to take urgent action to resume CP Rail operations immediately.

“We’ve been dealing with widespread feed shortages throughout the province and across the country. Producers will once again be forced into an impossible situation if we’re unable to ship feed in for our animals.”

ABP is asking Premier Jason Kenny to urgently and repeatedly request that the federal government immediately declare rail services essential and invoke ‘back to work’ legislation, until the message is heard.

The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission is calling for Ottawa to implement binding arbitration in order to put an end to the CP work stoppage.

In 2021, Saskatchewan produced almost 40 percent of the spring wheat and over 80 percent of the durum grown in Canada, the majority of which is moved by rail to ocean ports and then to export markets. 

Sask Wheat Chair, Brett Halstead says after a year of terrible weather conditions that impacted yields, and with farmers now dealing with high input costs, stopping the transportation of grain and fertilizer is just adding insult to injury.

“Not being able to move their grain will mean that some farmers will not be able to meet their cash flow requirements to operate their businesses. The timing is particularly bad for farmers, as it will also impact the movement of fertilizer with seeding only a few weeks away.”

They note that Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier of high quality grain to international markets will not only be damaged, but will have future repercussions.

The flow of grain through the ports and onto vessels will also be slowed as port storage is not replenished.

SaskWheat says if the rail service disruption continues, existing contractual obligations with Canada’s international grain customers will not be met and new sales will be forgone.



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