CIFFA thanks the Canadian Industrial Transportation Association (CITA) for sharing with CIFFA its update regarding the possibility of strike action against CN Rail as early as next week. The CITA update reads in part …” a work stoppage (strike or lockout) is now very likely as CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), representing 2700 conductors, yard personnel and traffic coordinators are not close to an agreement.


CN has reported that the earliest possible date for a work stoppage is Wednesday, September 29, but they expect that it will be delayed several days beyond that date. CN has been training supervisory and management personnel to act as conductors, but it is unclear at this time how much service they would be able to maintain. Under the Canada Labour Code, either party must give 72 hours notice of their intent to strike or lockout. 


The latest union news release on the dispute, issued on August 28, can be found at


In our September 14th eBulletin CIFFA reported CN’s update. “As such, CN has formally informed the union and the government that they are prepared to accept the Commissioner’s recommendation for the renewal of the collective agreements. It is to be noted that CN had also agreed to these terms during the conciliation process, subject to prompt ratification. At this time, the union has rejected the Commissioner’s recommendation. Therefore, on September 10, the federal government appointed a mediator to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. Should the parties be unable to accomplish this in the next few weeks, the parties may acquire the legal right to strike or lockout on September 29.  While CN remains hopeful that they can reach an agreement before that date, they have established a service plan to operate the railway safely and as efficiently as possible in the event of a labour disruption, with a view of providing customers with the best possible service.


Following the extreme volatility of the past several months, an unexpected and unwelcome work stoppage at the Port of Montreal and in the midst of a critical fourth quarter, another work action would most certainly negatively impact Canada’s fragile economic recovery. Service disruptions would be inevitable. CIFFA will continue to keep Members informed on this situation.