Half of Canadian small businesses affected by BC ports strike; Three quarters call on government to end it immediately

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More than half of business owners (53%) say the strike at the Port of Vancouver will affect their operations, according to preliminary survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). With no resolution in sight, three quarters of businesses (75%) are calling on the federal government to make ending the strike quickly a top priority.

 “Supply chains have just started to recover from the disruptions caused by the pandemic, so many businesses will feel this latest setback extra hard,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “We’re hearing from members across the country who are worried about missing critical sales, delayed production or orders or an inability to get their products to export markets because of the strike. The federal government must step in and get shipments moving again as quickly as possible.”

 Only 16% of businesses said the strike would have no impact on them, with another 31% unsure how it would affect them.

 CFIB has collected hundreds of examples of problems small business owners are already experiencing or expecting soon as a result of the strike. These include:

  • A specialty beverage producer in BC is waiting on a critical shipment of 48,000 glass bottles stuck at the port, with another on the way.
  • A retailer in Ontario is waiting on a shipment of footwear and clothes for back-to-school season and is worried that the short window to sell the inventory will close.
  • A construction business in Alberta is experiencing delays in steel deliveries to complete projects on time.
  • A manufacturer in Ontario incurred significant storage charges from the backlogs in the ports and train yards the last time there was a service disruption and worries that his business can’t survive another round.

 Unless the parties negotiate a deal immediately through collective bargaining, CFIB is urging the federal government to enact back-to-work legislation so that businesses are not unfairly punished by circumstances outside of their control.

 “Enough is enough. The federal government can’t just stand on the sidelines with its arms folded. They need to intervene quickly. Small businesses cannot continually bear the brunt of service and supply chain disruptions,” added Jasmin Guénette, Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB.