Restaurants Canada, a not-for-profit association representing Canada’s foodservice industry, has raised concerns about the strike that began at the Port of Vancouver.

The strike involved the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA).

The not-for-profit association stated that the impact of the strike, which commenced on 1 July 2023, could cause severe damage to the country’s restaurant industry.

British Columbia (BC) ports are considered to play an important role in ensuring the flow of goods and supplies that restaurants require to operate.

It noted that the strike would lead to an increase in the costs of the products used by the restaurants. It has urged the parties to settle the labour dispute immediately.

Restaurants Canada executive vice-president Richard Alexander said: “The ports in British Columbia are essential to supplying our industry and are not easily replaced.

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“During the last labour dispute at BC ports, we experienced significant cost increases and reports of cargos of produce rotting on board.

“Our industry and our economy simply cannot afford a shutdown of BC ports. An immediate resolution to this dispute through negotiation of back-to-work legislation is required.”

The association has also urged the federal government “to do everything in its power” to safeguard the country’s economy.

It added that 50% of foodservice operators in the country are currently operating at a loss or just breaking even, compared to only 12% during the pre-pandemic period.

Restaurants Canada appointed Kelly Higginson as its new president and CEO in May this year.

She replaced former president and CEO Christian Buhagiar, who left the organisation.