Federal task force recommends 21 changes to improve Canada's supply chains

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Supply chains of consumer goods may be global, but they all start as local, and the pre-pandemic, just-in-time model of logistics has faced serious challenges in the last two and a half years.

Challenges to Canada’s supply chains, however, pre-date current global backlogs, but the pandemic did prompt the federal government to create a National Supply Chain Task Force. The task force has finished an initial overview of the challenges at hand and has released 21 recommendations in its report.

The recommendations include developing strategies on:

  • Easing port congestion;
  • Addressing labour shortages and employee retention;
  • Protecting corridors, border crossings, and gateways from disruption;
  • Developing a national transportation Supply Chain Strategy; and
  • Engaging the United States and the provinces and territories to achieve mutual recognition of regulations, policies, and processes

Greg Northey, vice president, corporate affairs for Pulse Canada, which is a member of the Ag Transport Coalition, says that as an industry, agriculture is directly impacted by where these recommendations will lead. Pulses are largely moved by container, and the railways are critical infrastructure for all crop types.

Northey notes that this report is not binding, but it is broad in scope and in scale for some of the recommendations. That has huge implications for budgets and also standard operating procedures fro some government departments. Changes like that take some real political will to enact.

“[Transport Canada is] likely looking at having an overarching supply chain strategy that takes into account some of [the recommendations], maybe some others,” and so the focus for the agriculture industry will be to direct feedback on which recommendations we would prioritize, how we would like to implement it, what the outcome of that implementation should look like, he says.

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