Earlier today, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) President and CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement regarding the current work stoppage impacting national rail service:
“The CP Rail stoppage is only two days old, but its impacts are already being felt in forestry communities across Canada. Rail service in Canada is effectively a duopoly. Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) share the vast majority of Canada’s freight rail market, leaving our industry with very few, if any, alternatives during a service disruption.
In fact, 80% of Canadian forest sector mills are in areas that are only served by one railway. This makes the slightest disruption a potential disaster to everyday operations and the workers and families that rely on forestry jobs.
Over 600 communities across Canada are dependent on the forest sector, and many, (particularly in British Columbia), are already challenged by the fallout of pest outbreaks, fires, floods, and the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the United States.
For forestry workers, their families, and forestry-dependent communities, life can change in the space of a few days if mills have to be curtailed or closed. Today’s economy is a global one and another disruption of Canada’s critical supply chain sends the wrong message about Canada’s ability to compete and to be destination for investment.
FPAC is very concerned about the job and further economic impacts a protracted labour dispute will have on our sector. We need to get the trains and our products moving so we can keep mills open and workers working.”
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, paper, and wood-based bio-products producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $75B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 225,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.