Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra visited Rosedale Transport yesterday to welcome the final report from the National Supply Chain Task Force, which presented 21 actions to unclog Canada’s supply chain.
Among the priorities outlined in the report were easing port congestion, addressing labor shortages, protecting border crossings and trade corridors from disruptions, and developing a national supply chain strategy.
“Ensuring that Canadians receive essential goods has been a top priority for our government. Over the past several months, I’ve met with a range of supply chain partners and discussed challenges and strategies for public and private sector collaboration to find innovative solutions to ease congestion throughout our supply chain,” Alghabra said in a press release.
“We continue our work to find answers to ensure Canada’s supply chain remains efficient and reliable. I also wish to thank the National Supply Chain Task Force for their efforts over the last several months. The Task Force’s final report will prove invaluable as Canada develops its National Supply Chain Strategy.”
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), one of the stakeholders involved in the discussions, welcomed the trucking-specific recommendations outlined in the report.
These include: expanding the Temporary Foreign Workers program in the transportation industry; help funding training costs for truck drivers; twinning Hwy. 185 between New Brunswick and Quebec to allow more use of long combination vehicles; re-opening FAST enrolment centers; expanding Canadian Food Inspection Agency services for faster processing of commercial loads; and protecting highways and trade corridors from disruptions such as blockades and protests.
Several carriers met with Alghabra at Rosedale Transport following the release of the report.
“Minister Alghabra has been a great ally and supportive of our industry throughout the pandemic,” said Rosedale president Rolly Uloth. “Our sector, like many others, has faced a growing list of challenges over the last 2-1/2 years. The recommendations in the supply chain report, if implemented, will go a long way towards bolstering the supply chain and relieving some of the capacity constraints and disruption many businesses are experiencing.”
The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) also thanked the Task Force for including some of its recommendations.
“While not all of PMTC’s asks were included, we look at this report as a very positive first step with many great recommendations included that can help reduce congestion at our ports, air terminals and on the road, as well as help address some of the critical supply chain shortages,” said PMTC president Mike Millian.
Teamsters strike concerns
The Teamsters issued a statement saying the Task Force is on the right track, but the union also voiced concerns about how the recommendations could impact its members’ ability to strike.
“Teamsters Canada has consistently said that trucking must be recognized as a skilled trade to reduce the cost of training through apprenticeships and to underscore the value and the competencies required to perform this essential job. The report stops short of making this recommendation but does recognize the cost of training as a barrier to entry into this all-important industry,” said Teamsters Canada president François Laporte.
“We need to focus on the real issues undermining global supply chains. Free collective bargaining is not an impediment to supply chain continuity, but this report suggests otherwise. Ultimately, unions and everyday working-class Canadian families are not at the source of the world’s current disruptions. Attacking our rights won’t solve the crisis.”
The full report can be found here.
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