Association law

CP Rail strike: Sask. Mining Association ‘relieved’ that CP Rail is resuming operations

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. reached an agreement with its union representing its workers, which brings a “huge sigh of relief” to the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA).

The railroad continued normal operations on Tuesday after agreeing to settle a labor dispute with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, the union representing 3,000 conductors, engineers, train and yard workers.

“It would have been extremely disruptive had it continued for a while,” SMA President Pam Shwann told CTV News.

Shwann says there have been service delays before the labor disruptions and that’s good news.

She says companies were already preparing for disruptions ahead of March 16 to ensure their products would get to market.

In an email to CTV News, Nutrien says it “applauds” CP Rail and its union for reaching an agreement to enter binding arbitration and to “get the trains running again.”

“Thanks to the significant efforts of Nutrien’s teams, we were able to mitigate the impacts of the slowdown in rail service before and during the lockout/strike,” Nutrien said in the statement.

Last week, Nutrien announced it would increase its potash production in 2022 by one million tonnes and says a service disruption could have jeopardized that.

Shwann says even one day of disruption translates to at least three to four days before companies can restore service to normal. However, she is grateful that the disruption has been “limited”.

According to the Sask. Mining Association, 33 percent of the world’s potash supply comes from Saskatchewan and is a key commodity.

Last year, the province produced a record 22 million tonnes of potash which was marketed in June and generated more than $7.6 billion in revenue.

“It’s a huge economic mainstay of Saskatchewan and not just the economy…but Saskatchewan potash helps feed the world and so it’s really important that at this critical spring planting time, we are able to deliver this product to market.