Given the cost and frequency of labour disputes, it’s high time rail service be deemed essential

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The 2.5 day shutdown of CP Rail’s network last month was a sharp reminder why rail service, especially for agricultural commodities, should be deemed essential. Although the strike/lockout only lasted from a Sunday to a Tuesday, it caused weeks, even months, of disruption in already-stressed supply chains that rely on trains. The entire system was slowed down during the weeks leading up to the shutdown, and shippers say they expect it will take weeks to catch up, resulting in major economic and social costs for millions of Canadians. And this stoppage was just the latest in what’s become a pattern…

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