propane shortage

Quebec is actually running out of propane because of the CN rail strike

More than 3,000 unionized train operators in Canada walked off the job just days ago after failing to reach a new contract agreement with their employer, Canadian National Railway Co., and Quebec is now running out of propane as a result. 

Quebec Premier François Legault said the province only has enough propane to last about four more days before an an "emergency" puts hospitals, nursing homes and farms at risk, according to Global News.

Legault said the province has begun rationing remaining propane to make it last as long as possible. They've already reduced it to less than half the typical six million litres per day, and they have about 12 million litres left in reserve.

"We could lose a lot of animals, a lot of food. We’re in an emergency," Legault said in Quebec City. "Honestly we can’t draw out this strike for a long time."

Quebec receives the majority of its propane by rail, so the strike is having an even greater impact on the province than those who receive it via pipeline. 

CN railway workers have been without a contract since July 23, and they're citing long hours, fatigue and dangerous working conditions as the reasons for striking. 

But with every passing day, concerns over the impacts of the strike grow. 

Many are putting pressure on the federal government to call back the House earlier than December to legislate the 3,200 striking workers back to work.

Keith Currie, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said the lack of available resources has the potential to create a dire situation for many farmers across Canada if the strike is prolonged.

"Grain farmers in Ontario depend on shipments of propane to dry down corn and soybean crops, even more so this year in an unseasonably wet growing and harvest season. Without available propane, farmers may have no choice but to leave crops in the field, and their profit prospects along with it," he said. 

"We know the new Liberal federal government is not returning to Parliament Hill until early December. But this issue can’t wait. OFA encourages members who are affected by the rail strike, to reach out to their local MP to voice their concern and encourage a fast, effective resolution to this situation."

If the strike does last until Parliament is set to reconvene on December 5, it could result in $3.1 billion loss for the Canadian economy, according to BNN Bloomberg.

And Legault isn't the only provincial leader sounding the alarm. 

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe introduced an emergency motion Thursday calling for immediate action to end the strike, but it was blocked by the NDP opposition. 

Talks between the union and Canadian National Railway Co. are currently ongoing and being assisted by federally appointed mediators. As of yesterday, Canada’s transport minister said they were making progress.

Lead photo by

Iatse 212 Calgary


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