Commission to investigate longshore disputes at West Coast ports

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by Emily Atkins

Federal labour minister Seamus O’Regan Jr. announced the appointment of an Industrial Inquiry Commission on the underlying issues in longshoring labour disputes at Canada’s West Coast ports.

The Commission will be chaired by Vincent Ready and will include Amanda Rogers as a member. It will soon begin meeting with stakeholders and reviewing consultation submissions from relevant parties. The Commission will present its findings and recommendations in a report to the minister in Spring 2025.

After a tumultuous summer of strikes at British Columbia’s ports that were resolved after almost a month of picketing and port slowdowns. There were strong calls from industry to prevent a similar situation.

In August 2023, the minister of labour committed to initiating a process under section 106 of the Canada Labour Code to examine the structural issues underlying the longshoring labour dispute at West Coast ports, as well as similar disputes that have occurred in ports across Canada.

In October 2023, independent industrial relations experts Anthony Giles and Kevin Banks were contracted to identify the key questions that need to be answered and propose terms of reference for a more comprehensive review. They concluded that the West Coast ports represent a unique case study that requires deeper examination. These findings will help inform the Commission’s work.

The appointment of an Industrial Inquiry Commission is made pursuant to the minister of labour’s authority under section 108 of the Canada Labour Code

Vincent Ready began his career in labour relations in 1965 and has served in his private practice since 1982. He practices in every province and territory across Canada and has case experience in employment, labour/unions, and workplace rights.

Throughout his career, Ready has mediated or arbitrated over 7,000 labour and commercial disputes in Canada and is named in over 600 collective agreements. He has facilitated the establishment of new workplace relationships in various industries and is a member of the Arbitrators Association of British Columbia and the Register of Arbitrators under the British Columbia Labour Relations Code. He was awarded the W.P. Kelly Award for Lifetime Achievement as a Labour Mediator and the Bora Laskin Award for his contributions to Canadian labour law.

Amanda Rogers is an arbitrator, mediator, and lawyer who specializes in resolving workplace disputes. She has been appointed as an arbitrator across Canada, including in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and under federal jurisdiction, publishing numerous decisions and settling many cases through mediation.

Rogers is on the roster of arbitrators in BC and is named in numerous collective agreements across the country. She also acts as an external adjudicator for the Canada Industrial Relations Board. She has previously been appointed as an Industrial Inquiry Commissioner for the Government of British Columbia, publishing a report with recommendations on changes to union successorship rights in BC’s forest industry. She has also worked as Independent Reviewer for the Government of Yukon. Rogers has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Juris Doctor (JD) from University of Toronto and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School.