Viterra port facilities in Vancouver and Montreal are the sites of picket lines set up, as the Public Sectors Alliance of Canada strike is in its 7th day.
President of the Agricultural Union within PSAC, Milton Dyck, says about 80 people were on the line in Vancouver in support of striking Canadian Grain Commission employees.
A report from the Western Producer says the employees are protesting the use of outside grain inspectors.
Dyck says workers are concerned about the integrity of the samples, saying unregulated inspectors may be biased while the Grain Commission is impartial.
He added picket line are set up at Agriculture Canada Research Centres across the nation, including Swift Current and Indian Head.
President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) Ian Boxall is hoping for a quick contract settlement to avoid grain shipment delays.
“Our customers are looking at us to supply these products and if we have more delays in our supply chain, we just end up looking like an unreliable source for product.” said Boxall, adding picket lines at research centres in Swift Current and Indian Head are another concern.
“All the knowledge that is gained from these research farms on varieties and disease and disease/pest management. If they don’t get those plots seeded, we’ll lose one year of research, which is also a huge detriment to Western Canadian Agriculture.”
A third concern Boxall mentioned was on the Canada Revenue Agency front, where “many ag programs s require income tax filings to determine eligibility”.
“Timely processing of income tax returns will be impacted. And there is growing uncertainty if the cash advance program will be affected.” he added.
Furthermore, Boxall says the ongoing workers strike affects the Temporary Foreign Workers Program.
“I talked to a friend of mine today who’s worker he was bringing in is now delayed in that process as well.” Boxall noted.
“What’s best for Canadians is for the (federal) government and the union to come to an agreement that works for both parties.”
Below is the interview with APAS President Ian Boxall.