Montréal, April 23, 2021 – The Association du camionnage du Québec, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal (CCMM), the Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ) express their grave concerns about the serious economic consequences of a second unlimited general strike in less than one year at the Port of Montreal, announced by the CUPE Longshoremen’s Union and scheduled for April 26.
“Our industry cannot handle another strike without there being major layoffs,” said Marc Cadieux, president and CEO of the Association du camionnage du Québec (ACQ). “This will have a serious economic impact on our businesses. With all avenues for talks exhausted, Prime Minister Trudeau must act, because he is the only one with the power to protect our economy and our businesses.”
“The situation at the Port of Montreal is exactly where we feared it would end up,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. “The announcement of an unlimited general strike will have disastrous consequences for the economy of the city, the province, and the rest of the country, still vulnerable from the crisis. Every day of a general strike costs up to $29 million. It is totally irresponsible and unacceptable to allow a strategic asset like the port – which is essential to the supply chain of many businesses in Quebec and Canada – to shut down this way. It is time that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Minister of Labour, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, use all means at their disposal to impose maintaining activities. The health of our businesses and a successful relaunch are at stake.”
“The Port of Montreal is an essential link in all supply chains in Quebec, from heavy industry to medical supplies,” said Karl Blackburn, president and CEO of the Conseil du patronat du Québec. “When it is a matter of survival for many businesses, for us, there is no doubt that the port is an essential service that cannot stop operating, particularly in the middle of a pandemic. The Canadian government has the tools it needs to act now. It must take action. This situation has dragged on for more than 30 months, and the uncertainty has gone on long enough.”
“Because of the pandemic, our current economic situation is exceptional, as is the economic importance of this particular workplace,” said Charles Milliard, president and CEO of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec. “The context requires solutions that are rarely used, imposing an immediate end to pressure tactics and having mediation followed by binding arbitration for a new labour contract between the two parties. It is not an ideal situation for anyone, but it seems that there is no hope of a negotiated resolution to the conflict in the short term, and we cannot suffer the impact of a shutdown in the operation of the Port of Montreal.”
“The worst-case scenario, the one we were all afraid of, has just happened,” said Jasmin Guénette, vice-president of national affairs at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “The notice of a new unlimited strike just as thousands of SMEs are limping along is unacceptable. Across the country, more than half of SMEs are asking the federal government to intervene to prevent this strike. In Quebec, 72% of businesses called for it. We have repeatedly asked the government to act, but the strategy our elected officials have adopted has failed. We are making one last call: SMEs cannot suffer the harm a new strike would bring. It would jeopardize the entire Canadian economy. The time to act is now.”
“We have been cast in the same bad movie as last summer,” said Véronique Proulx, president and CEO of the Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ). “An unlimited strike will have a major impact on manufacturers and exporters in Quebec, but also elsewhere in Canada. Once again, we are compromising logistics and supply chains in the middle of a health crisis, when we need to be relaunching the economy. The federal government must intervene now to ensure activities at the Port of Montreal are maintained on Monday. Time is of the essence.”
Joint declaration for government intervention: close to 450 signatures of support collected
On March 18, the six organizations issued a joint declaration calling on Canada’s Minister of Labour, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, and the government to do everything in its power to ensure activities at the port are maintained and to reassure businesses. To date, the declaration has garnered close to 450 signatories in all sectors of activity from Quebec and the rest of Canada.
To consult the declaration and the list of signatories:
About the Association du camionnage du Québec (ACQ)
The ACQ brings together public and private carriers and product and services providers in Quebec’s trucking industry. With a fleet of over 20,000 vehicles, it represents 75% of owners of fleets of five vehicles and more. In Quebec, the industry generates revenue of close to $7.6 billion.
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 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 Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
The CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 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 Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (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 Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ)
MEQ represents 1,100 manufacturers across Québec. Québec’s manufacturing sector employs close to 450,000 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.
Marie-Claude Leblanc, Media Relations
ACQ, C. 514 415-9680, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dominique Talbot, Advisor, Media Relations
CCMM, C. 514 969-2101, email@example.com
Victoria Drolet, Press Attaché
CPQ, C. 438 888-3312, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wissal El Alaoui, Press Attaché
FCEI, C. 514 817-0228, email@example.com
Félix Rhéaume, Senior Director, Communications and External Relations
FCCQ, C. 514 912-2639, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marie-Ève Labranche, Director, Public and Government Affairs
MEQ, C. 514 570-5469, email@example.com
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