Farmers will pay for delays in grain shipments, APAS says
By Diego Flammini
More Canadian farm groups are urging the federal government and Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) to reach a new deal.
More than 155,000 federal workers have been on strike since April 19, affecting services like passport applications, tax filing and services within the ag sector.
Within ag, grain inspections, export certification analytical testing and other services are partially or fully disrupted, the Canadian Grain Commission says on its website.
The longer these delays occur, the longer ships remain in port. When ships remain in port accumulating demurrage fees, farmers end up on the receiving end of those costs, said Ian Boxall, president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
“Our supply chain has not fully recovered from the impacts of COVID-19, and a prolonged labour disruption impacting exports will be a major blow to producers, he said in a statement. “Delayed inspections will cause backlogs at ports. Every day a ship must wait means demurrage charges to grain companies, and these costs always make their way to the farmer.”
In addition, the delays within the Canada Revenue Agency could affect eligibility requirements for farmers applying to ag programs, Boxall said.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has also expressed its concern about the ongoing strike.
The organization recently submitted a letter to Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau asking the government to take steps to ensure the movement of ag products isn’t interrupted by the strike.
This could include an Essential Service Agreement (ESA)
An ESA, according to the Treasury Board, is “an agreement between the employer and the bargaining agent for a bargaining unit that identifies the positions necessary for the employer to provide essential services.”
At least one organization has indicated it is “in solidarity” with PSAC employees.
This strike is an example of the federal government putting other priorities before workers, said Stewart Wells, 2nd vice president of the National Farmers Union.
“Time and again, the federal government has shown it has endless amounts of money to spend on things like pipelines and tax breaks for multinational corporations,” he said in a statement. “Yet here we see the people the country relies on to do the work needed to provide critical service to Canadians every day must hit the streets to be heard.”