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Business Leaders Call for Immediate Intervention by the Government of Canada to Have the Port of Montréal Resume Normal Operations

Montréal, August 10, 2020 ‒ The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal (CCMM), theConseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), theFédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) theCanadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and theManufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ) are extremely concerned about the impact that the indefinite general strike launched today by Longshoremen’s Union CUPE Local 375 at the Port of Montréal will have on businesses and the economy in Montréal, Québec and Eastern Canada.

In the view of these organizations, the strike is taking the economy hostage at a time when every effort should be focused instead on the recovery after an unprecedented economic crisis. At a joint press conference today they called for immediate intervention by the Government of Canada so that normal operations can resume as soon as possible.

“The effects of a prolonged strike on Montréal’s and Québec’s economy will be devastating. With every passing day, the strike will further slow the recovery of our economy. We will lose opportunities for future growth. There is a risk that the ships that are taking Montréal off their routes today will not be coming back. The Port connects us to over 140 countries and 110 million consumers. It has to run smoothly, not only for our businesses to make money but also to maintain Montréal’s and Québec’s reputation as a place of business. We must act now. We need to impose arbitration and make everyone go back to work,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the CCMM.

“This announcement of an indefinite general strike will continue to take businesses hostage at a time when entrepreneurs are trying to save their companies. This is very bad news, and it will have huge impacts. Think about Québec’s independent food producers, or about supply chain issues: the impacts will be widespread throughout the regions and they will have terrible consequences,” added Karl Blackburn, President and CEO of the CPQ.

“The labour dispute at the Port of Montréal is already having a serious impact on Québec’s economy. With the economic recovery still fragile, an indefinite strike will have disastrous consequences for the thousands of Québec businesses that depend on the Port for their supplies. We repeat that it is urgent for the federal government and the Minister of Labour to intervene and ensure a return to normal operations as soon as possible,” said Charles Milliard, President and CEO of the FCCQ.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Even though three quarters of them have completely reopened in Québec, only a third are back to their regular sales levels. Adding obstacles that make their products more difficult to get will not only slow down production, it will have a negative effect on sales. This could not have come at a worse time for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing, agriculture, wholesale and retail sectors. Given the importance of the Port of Montréal, businesses throughout Canada may be affected by this strike. We need the Government of Canada to intervene and keep the port running,” said François Vincent, CFIB Vice President for Québec.
“This strike is greatly weakening the export capacity and supply chains of Québec manufacturing businesses just when they have suffered so many recent blows: the rail blockade, the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of tariffs on aluminum. It is crucial for port activities to start up again quickly if our regions are to regain their economic vitality,” added Véronique Proulx, President and CEO of the MEQ.
Joint statement calling for the government to intervene: more than 500 declarations of support

The five organizations made a joint statement on August 5, calling on all levels of government to intervene quickly in order to limit the impact of the situation at the Port of Montréal and end the labour dispute. To date, the statement has garnered over 500 declarations of support from people working in all sectors in Québec and Ontario.

Read the statement and the list of signatories at:https://www.ccmm.ca/en/portofmontrealstatement/

About the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM)
With a network of over 8,000 members, the CCMM is active on two fronts: being the voice of the Montréal business community and delivering specialized services to businesses and their representatives. With its finger on the pulse of current events, it acts on issues that are decisive for the prosperity of the city’s businesses. With the support of the Acclr experts, the CCMM’s goal is to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses of all sizes, at home and around the world. 

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.

About the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ)
The CPQ was created in 1969 as the result of a consensus among businesses, unions and universities. It is made up of close to 100 industry associations and a number of corporate members (businesses, institutions and other employers). It represents the interests of over 70,000 private and parapublic employers of all sizes.

About the FCCQ
With its extensive network of more than 130 chambers of commerce and 1,100 corporate members, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) represents over 50,000 businesses involved in all sectors of the economy throughout Québec. As the province’s premier business network, the FCCQ serves as both a federation and a provincial chamber of commerce. Its members share a common goal: to foster an innovative and competitive business environment.

About the Manufacturiers & Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ)
MEQ represents 1,100 manufacturers across Québec. Québec’s manufacturing sector employs close to 500,000 people and accounts for 14% of GDP and 89% of exports. It is growing rapidly and generated total sales of close to $170 billion in 2019.

 

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Source:
Julie Serero, Advisor, Media Relations
CCMM, C. 514-265-9815, jserero@ccmm.ca  
 
Camilla Sironi, Media Relations
CPQ, C. 514-445-8312, camilla@luminaconseil.ca
 
Wissal El Alaoui, Press Officer
CFIB, C. 514-817-0228,affaires.publiques@fcei.ca
 
Félix Rhéaume, Senior Director, Communications and External Relations
FCCQ, C. 514-912-2639,felix.rheaume@fccq.ca
 
Caroline Robin, Coordinator – Partnership and Membership
MEQ, C. 514-651-7885,crobin@tactconseil.ca

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