The striking employees help administer ag programs and services and are involved in grain inspections
By Diego Flammini
At least one Canadian ag organization is expressing concern about striking public sector workers.
More than 155,000 federal workers walked off the job Wednesday morning after failed negotiations between the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the federal government.
The workers have been without a contract since June 2021.
This labour dispute will affect farmers, said Jill Verwey, president of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).
“PSAC represents thousands of public service employees who play a key role in the delivery and administration of agricultural programs and services, including the suite of business risk management programs and programming in the new Sustainable CAP that producers rely so heavily on to help run their operations,” she said in a statement.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is among the federal departments affected by the strike.
AgriInvest, AgriStability and Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program, and the department’s contact centre could experience delays, AAFC’s website says.
The strike also affects the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC).
Grain inspections, export certification analytical testing services and other services will be partially or fully disrupted, the CGC says on its website.
The PSAC and federal government must restart negotiations to minimize the impact on Canadian agriculture, Verwey said.
The strike “could negatively impact grain shipments resulting in backlogs and restricted cash flow for farmers, as well as increased demurrage costs for grain companies,” she said. “Restrictions in cash flow could hamper a farmer’s ability to market their remaining 2022 crop as well as their ability to purchase inputs for the 2023 crop year.”
The Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) is affected too.
“Some of the CDC employees are in a legal strike position. Part of our services may be affected,” the CDC’s website states.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, however, is not on strike.
“The CFIA collective bargaining negotiations take place separately from those within the Core Public Administration and the CRA, and follow separate timeframes,” the CFIA said on Twitter on April 13. “Therefore, the CFIA is not in a strike situation at this stage and our employees will continue their work.”