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Workers back on the job after CP Rail and union agree to final arbitration


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Canadian Pacific Railway rail employees are back on the job.

But one labour relations expert says it could take weeks before matters are settled between the country’s second-largest railway and the union representing three-thousand conductors, engineers, train and yard workers.

CP Rail and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference announced early today that they had agreed to final and binding arbitration to end a work stoppage that began on the weekend.

Robert Hickey, a labour and employment professor at Queen’s University, says given the high profile of this company, the arbitration process will probably be fast-tracked, but we’re not talking days — but weeks.”

He also said CP Rail is well aware of the importance and need to manage labour relations and bring the dispute to a quick settlement, as it waits for approval from a U-S regulator on its merger with U-S railway Kansas City Southern.

He says labour relations is a key component of being a competitive player in this marketplace.

In a statement, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference spokesperson Dave Fulton said while binding arbitration was not the preferred method, the union was able to negotiate terms and conditions that were in the best interest of its members, with wages and pensions still stumbling blocks.

C-P chief executive Keith Creel said in a statement that the railway was pleased to have reached the agreement to enter into binding arbitration, enabling it “to resume our essential services for our customers and the North American supply chain.”

The statement added C-P will begin working with customers to resume normal train operations across Canada as soon as possible.

C-P Rail shut down operations on Sunday just after midnight.

A few hours later, Teamsters issued a statement saying the employees were locked out but were also on strike.

Industry groups had been pressing Ottawa to introduce back-to-work legislation to end the work stoppage.

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan said in a statement that the outcome “is further evidence that when employers and unions work together, we get the best results for Canadians and our economy.”

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Canada saw decline in fresh fruit, vegetable availability in 2022: StatCan

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Pilot program for temporary agricultural workers extended after rocky pandemic start

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Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. Fraser says the government will expand a pilot project to attract more temporary foreign workers to accept jobs in Canada’s agricultural industry for another two years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick


Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says the government will expand a pilot project to attract more temporary foreign workers to jobs in Canada’s agricultural industry for another two years.

The government launched the program three years ago to offer temporary workers in the agriculture and food sector a pathway to permanent residency in Canada.

It was due to end later this month but Fraser says it’s going to continue until 2025.

He says the pilot experienced some challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government wants more time to test it out.

The minister also says the family members of workers who make it into the program will be given open work permits so they can earn a living while they’re in Canada.

The agricultural sector is struggling with labour shortages, and the minister says if they’re not addressed it could hurt Canada’s food security.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2023.

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