March 24, 2021 – An article in Quebec’s La Presse newspaper (available only in French) on March 23 suggests that the Trudeau government plans to react quickly to any strike action on the part of the longshoremen at the Port of Montreal. Apparently, Filomena Tassi, the Minister of Labour, is preparing back-to-work legislation in the event a strike is declared. Quebec Premier François Legault is said to have met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week and to have stressed that a strike would harm any economic recovery after a year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two parties, the Longshoremen’s Union Local 375 and the Maritime Employers’ Association, are said to be heading back to the negotiating table this week after the union rejected the employer’s so-called "final offer" on Sunday, March 21. The office of Labour Minister Tassi told the Canadian Press that it is pleased with the parties’ return to the bargaining table and invites the parties to come to an agreement as soon as possible. “The government’s clear intention is for the parties to come to an agreement. This has been made clear to the parties,” said Lars Wessman, Director of Communications for Minister Tassi. Wessman also noted the Port of Montreal’s pivotal role.

“We are aware that the current situation is creating a lot of uncertainty in supply chains, and risks harming our reputation and the Canadian economy, especially in Montreal as well as in Quebec and in Ontario. We have heard the concerns of numerous parties over the course of the last several weeks and we take them seriously,” the Minister’s office said.