Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has issued a statement expressing the sector’s concern over disruptions to Canada’s rail transport system.
About 3,200 Canadian National Rail (CN Rail) employees went on strike November 19 after unsuccessful labour negotiations.
“Canada’s forest products sector is responsible for 10 per cent of the total tonnage transported through Canada’s railways, often in remote locations where alternative transportation is limited or unavailable,” says Derek Nighbor, FPAC president and CEO, in the statement.
“Further compounding the severity of a disruption is the ongoing truck driver shortage, which means additional costs, higher rates and an inability to ship products to customers.
“While FPAC respects the collective bargaining process, and the right of workers to go on strike, we are concerned about the devastating economic impacts this dispute will have on our industry, which is already facing significant headwinds, not to mention the impacts on forestry families and communities.”
According to FPAC, the $73.6-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 12 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.