Federal Workers' Strike May Move Next to Canada's Ports

Cruise ship outside of Canada Place in Vancouver, BC
Cruise ship outside of Canada Place in Vancouver, BC

Despite initially saying it would focus any picketing on federal government buildings to minimize disruption for ordinary Canadians, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) now says it may begin to escalate strike action - taking picket lines to Canadian ports.

Frustrated by a lack of agreement between the union and Ottawa following the commencement of job action, PSAC leaders say they intend to expand demonstrations beyond 250 government buildings where picket lines have been operating in the five days since the strike began. 155,000 federal government workers belonging to the union have been on strike since 19APR.

Among the PSAC workers on strike are those in Canada's ports. They include clerks, deck hands, maintenance workers, port services and others. According to The Globe, "the union had warned the government before the strike commenced that port workers walking off the job could cause supply chain disruptions" with picket lines slowing down delivery and shipping vehicles going into and out of ports. That would threaten supply chains and the movement of goods into and out of Canada.

But those same delays and interruptions could also end up affecting cruise services in Canada's ports. On both sides of the country, the cruising season is just getting underway.

A successful 2023 cruise season is particularly important for local economies and the travel industry as a whole following the pandemic ban on cruise ships in Canadian waters. A prolonged strike, or one that prevents cruise ships from being adequately serviced or provisioned, may jeopardize cruise itineraries up and down both coasts this spring.

If the PSAC strike does move to involve Canada's ports and cruise ship activities, that would be just one of several ways that the federal workers' strike is having a direct impact on travel.

As Open Jaw has reported, non-emergency processing of passports by Service Canada is "on hold" during the strike. And half of striking CTA workers are directly involved in processing passenger complaints claims against airlines, which the CTA says will result in further delays beyond the already 18-month processing time.

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