Restaurants Canada’s Concerns on Port of Vancouver Strike

Published July 3, 2023

Restaurants Canada is genuinely concerned about the lasting effects of the strike that began on July 1, 2023, at the Port of Vancouver with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, and BCMEA. This strike will cause severe damage to Canada’s already struggling Restaurant industry. The cost of products used in our restaurants is already at historic highs. This strike will cause costs to rise even further. For the sake of our industry’s survival, Restaurants Canada is calling on both parties to settle this dispute immediately and for the federal government to do everything in its power to protect Canada’s economy.

BC ports are crucial in maintaining the flow of goods and supplies restaurants require to operate. The inflationary pressures restaurants are dealing with are already threatening the survival of many operations. Utilities have increased by 6%, proteins have increased by 9% (beef), 11% (seafood) and 13% (chicken), not to mention cooking oil which is up 40%. This labour dispute and the closure of British Columbia ports will mean further cost increases. After a challenging three years with increased labour shortages, rising interest rates and operational costs, restaurants do not need more uncertainty.

Fifty percent of Canadian foodservice operators are currently operating at a loss or just breaking even – compared to just 12% pre-pandemic. “The ports in British Columbia are essential to supplying our industry and are not easily replaced,” said Richard Alexander, Executive Vice President of Restaurants Canada. “During the last labour dispute at BC ports, we experienced significant cost increases and reports of cargos of produce rotting on board. Our industry and our economy simply cannot afford a shutdown of BC ports. An immediate resolution to this dispute through negotiation of back-to-work legislation is required.”

To avoid further stress within Canadian foodservice and more damage to Canada’s economy, Restaurants Canada is calling on all parties to immediately resolve this labour dispute, and for the federal government to do everything in its power to protect Canada’s economy.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact Tracey Mills Fletcher. 647 204-0709 or tmillsfletcher@restaurantscanada.org

Jess Landesman

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