The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) today welcomed the government’s action to move forward on back to work legislation to bring to an end the ongoing strike by CN’s freight conductors and switching yard employees. The industry encouraged all parliamentarians to support this legislation to prevent further disruption to the economy.

“Canada’s forest products industry has yet to recover from the impact of last February’s strike, and this latest walkout has resulted in significant service disruptions, lost contracts and penalties for our members,” said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC. “The forest products industry is one of Canada’s single largest users of freight rail services, annually shipping by rail millions of tonnes of finished product.  As most of the industry’s mills are located in remote areas where rail service is the only viable transportation mode, other forms of ground transportation are either too costly or unavailable to provide our companies with relief, making our sector particularly vulnerable to even the shortest disruptions in service.”

“A fully-functioning competitive rail transportation system is a critical element of the Canadian manufacturing sector’s competitiveness in terms of cost, service and reliability,” continued Lazar.  “Rail transportation is especially important for an export-dependent economy such as Canada’s where delivering products to markets swiftly and economically is a key to the country’s overall competitiveness.  A prolonged dispute would have disastrous economic consequences for Canada’s economy and its reputation as a reliable supplier, and we welcome the government’s action.”

FPAC is the voice of Canada’s wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs.  Canada’s forest industry is an $80 billion dollar a year industry that represents 3% of Canada’s GDP.  The industry is one of Canada’s largest employers, operating in over 320 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

– 30 –

For more information, contact:

Isabelle Des Chênes
Director, Communications
Forest Products Association of Canada
(613) 563-1441 ext: 323
ideschenes@fpac.ca