The Alberta Wheat Commission is urging the federal government to take the necessary steps to encourage negotiations between CN Rail and union representatives to avoid any disruptions in rail transportation service.

Commission chair Kent Erickson says "There is a lot of grain to move right now and with inland terminal storage capacity at 90%, any work stoppages would result in further delays for grain movement,” He says “Growers depend on the rail system to move product to export markets and the supply chain, when operational, has not able to meet the demands of this year’s harvest.”

The Wheat commission wants the Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt and the Minister of Labour Kellie Leitch to be ready to take immediate action if a rail strike occurs and minimize any potential economic impact that would come from a labour dispute.

“We are already facing a dire situation for grain movement in Canada, and that will be further compounded in the event of a work stoppage,” adds Erickson. “A rail strike could have potentially devastating and lasting effects on our growers, domestic supply chain partners, international buyers and the national economy.”

He say if Canada is not able to meet our trade obligations, buyers will also look at alternatives for sourcing their food products.