Statement by Minister O’Regan


July 29, 2023     Gatineau, Quebec     Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., issued the following statement on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada ratification vote:

“Last night, the membership of the ILWU Canada voted to reject the tentative agreement with the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA). This comes after the proposed Terms of Settlement by the federal mediator were both accepted by the ILWU Canada bargaining team and recommended to the membership for ratification by the ILWU Canada Longshore Caucus. 

This state of uncertainty cannot continue. While our BC ports are operating right now, we need long term stability for the many workers and businesses that depend on them.

As Minister of Labour, I am using my authorities under Section 107 of the Canada Labour Code to preserve industrial peace. I have directed the Canada Industrial Relations Board to determine whether the union’s rejection of the tentative agreement has eliminated the possibility of a negotiated resolution. If the Board determines that to be the case, I have directed them to either impose a new collective agreement on the parties or impose final binding arbitration to resolve outstanding terms of the collective agreement.

Our economy cannot face further disruption from this dispute. Following the Incident Response Group meeting with the Prime Minister on July 19, the Government is prepared for all options and eventualities. 

Canada is a reliable trading partner to the world. That is a good thing for every worker and employer in this country. But our credibility depends on the stable operation of our supply chains. We must do everything we can to preserve that stability.”

Associated Link

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Hartley Witten
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Labour and Minister for Seniors, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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