Inside Logistics

Churchill employees visit Ottawa

Lobbying to have port converted to a federal port authority

December 14, 2016

CHURCHILL, Manitoba—Employees of the Port of Churchill visited Parliament Hill to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to save the port by converting the Port of Churchill into a Port Authority under federal jurisdiction.

The group posed for a photo that read, “No Christmas for Churchill – Save Our Port.”

The workers were joined by Niki Ashton (MP, Churchill—Keewatinook Aski), Teresa Eschuk (Regional Vice-President, Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE Prairies/North) and Marianne Hladun (Regional Executive Vice-President, Public Service Alliance of Canada, PSAC Prairies). The group was to meet with several MPs and staff from all parties and attend Question Period in the House of Commons.

Churchill workers came to Ottawa to ask the Liberal government to support the port and invest in the community,” said Eschuk. “There needs to be a long-term strategic solution for this community.”

Similar to an airport authority, port authority status would allow community and government representatives to sit on the board and be accountable to various stakeholders, including municipalities and Indigenous communities, instead of being focused solely on corporate shareholders.

The Minister of Transport has the authority under the Canada Marine Act to amend the list of regulated port authorities by Order in Council or regulation.

“We are calling on the federal government to bring the Port of Churchill back as a national asset so that it can return to full operation in 2017 and for generations to come,” said Hladun. “This community and our members deserve nothing less.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents more than 170,000 workers across Canada, including more than 60 workers at the Port of Churchill. The Union of Canadian Transportation Employees (UCTE) is a component of the PSAC that represents members working at Transport Canada, Canadian Coast Guard, Nav Canada, and airports across the country.