Rail service crucial to keeping Regina’s economy running on time

June 25, 2024 

With the very real prospect of a labour disruption in Canada’s rail transportation system, now is a good time to provide some context on this vital service for Canada, Saskatchewan, and Regina.  

Our economy runs on the rails. Canada’s rail system carries $380 billion worth of goods every year. With $49.3 billion of that coming out of Saskatchewan, it’s fair to say our province has an outsized reliance on a fully functioning, efficient rail system.  

Put simply, a rail stoppage put’s our economy in harm’s way – and that hurts everyone. 

In the short term, a supply chain disruption of this scale could deepen Canada’s existing productivity issues, potentially lowering GDP growth. It could also create shortages of key goods, leading to higher consumer prices at a time when they are just coming under control. The long-term impacts of a rail service disruption may be even more concerning and more widely felt, including diminishing Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier in key sectors like agriculture, energy and mining. If international customers can’t get Canadian products, they will look elsewhere for the goods they need.  Provinces whose economies depend on trade in those and other sectors will be on the losing end.   

For Regina, a major centre for value-added agriculture, manufacturing, and an emerging biomass hub, prolonged rail service disruption could have a significant impact. More directly impacted though, would be the 4,100 people working in Regina’s transportation and logistics sector, which is responsible for $1.3 billion in sales annually.   

There is no winner in a rail strike, but the potential for collateral damage is real – and significant. In a time when the world is demanding what Canada, Saskatchewan and Regina offer, we should be working together to deliver those things.  

We encourage all sides in this issue to continue working toward a constructive, workable solution that, first and foremost, keeps the trains moving.  

 

Chris Lane
President & CEO
Economic Development Regina Inc.