Monday, March 30, 2020

CFA statement of concern during Rail Blockades

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is extremely concerned on the impacts of the ongoing rail blockades on Canadian farmers, their animals and Canadians who rely on the railway system for access to food and groceries.

These new interruptions come at the tail-end of what has been an incredibly difficult twelve months for Canadian farmers across the country. Canadian farmers have been impacted harshly by destructive weather, unfounded product bans such as Canola and the previous rail strike during peak harvest times.

These new blockades are once again hampering the ability for farmers to get their products to port, especially those in Western Canada. As farmers do not get paid until their products reach the market, this can have huge financial consequences for Canadian farmers, and creates cash-flow issues as they prepare for the coming year. As this is the second significant interruption in rail service in the past few months, these issues are compounding on each other to create an extremely challenging coming year for farmers across the country.

If rail service continues to be blockaded this will result in propane shortages in Eastern Canada. Without access to propane shipments, there is a very real risk of animal welfare issues as many farmers use propane to heat their barns in the winter months.

“Farmers were recently negatively affected by the CN rail strike during harvest season, which caused millions of dollars of losses. That strike showed us the importance the rail system plays in our everyday lives, not just for farmers but for all Canadians. There is a huge economic impact that goes along with any rail disruption, but it also affects the delivery of food, medical supplies and energy products that Canadians rely on every day,” said Mary Robinson, CFA President.

“Interruptions in rail service amplifies the stress that farmers and rural communities are under, creating a huge amount of uncertainty in their day-to-day lives. While the CFA respects the rights of Canadians to protest, we feel those protests should not endanger the health and livelihoods of other Canadians, especially when they have no part in the issues being protested. We hope that this situation can be resolved quickly so that the impacts on Canadians and Canadian farmers are not too severe.”

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture urges the Federal Government to resolve this situation as quickly as possible, as the impacts and resulting consequences worsen with every day that passes.

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