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Labour minister announces inquiry into 2023 B.C. port strike

Striking International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada workers march to a rally as gantry cranes used to load and unload cargo containers from ships sit idle at port in Vancouver on Thursday, July 6, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Striking International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada workers march to a rally as gantry cranes used to load and unload cargo containers from ships sit idle at port in Vancouver on Thursday, July 6, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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GATINEAU, Que -

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan says he has appointed an Industrial Inquiry Commission to dig deeper into the underlying causes of B.C.'s port strike last summer.

The federal government says in a statement the port strike was a single labour dispute that caused a major “economic disruption” as longshore workers walked picket lines for just under two weeks last July.

O'Regan says the commission will be headed by veteran mediator Vince Ready, who was tapped during the strike to mediate a deal between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the BC Maritime Employers Association.

The statement says the government “believes in collective bargaining” as a means of delivering “certainty” to the country's supply chains.

The labour ministry says the inquiry's goal is to provide “stability,” and that Canada's credibility and reliability as an international trading partner is at stake when supply chains are disrupted.

O'Regan says workers and businesses need “long-term solutions” and the inquiry commission will present its findings next spring.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2024.

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