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Federal labour minister announces inquiry into B.C. port strike

British Columbia

Seamus O’Regan says workers and businesses need “long-term solutions” and the inquiry commission will present its findings next spring. 

Seamus O’Regan says workers and businesses need ‘long-term solutions’ to disputes

Striking port workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada cheer attend a rally in Vancouver, on July 9, 2023. Canada’s labour minister has appointed a commission to explore the underlying causes of the strike. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan says he has appointed an Industrial Inquiry Commission to dig deeper into the underlying causes of B.C.’s port strike last summer. 

The federal government says in a statement the port strike was a single labour dispute that caused a major “economic disruption” as longshore workers walked picket lines for just under two weeks last July. 

O’Regan says the commission will be headed by veteran mediator Vince Ready, who was tapped during the strike to mediate a deal between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the B.C. Maritime Employers Association. 

The statement says the government “believes in collective bargaining” as a means of delivering “certainty” to the country’s supply chains.

The Labour Ministry says the inquiry’s goal is to provide “stability,” and that Canada’s credibility and reliability as an international trading partner is at stake when supply chains are disrupted. 

O’Regan says workers and businesses need “long-term solutions” and the inquiry commission will present its findings next spring. 

B.C. port strike is over, but it will take weeks to clear the backlog of goods

As the union and employer reach a tentative four-year deal, B.C. port workers are back on the job after nearly two weeks on strike. Now, all eyes are focused on when goods and supplies can start moving again.

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