TransLink anticipating possible shutdown of Canada Line today due to strike

Feb 1 2021, 7:28 am

Metro Vancouver’s public transit riders should prepare for a possible disruption in service on SkyTrain Canada Line as early as 4 pm on Monday afternoon, coinciding with the start of the afternoon peak rush.

In a bulletin this morning, TransLink says it is anticipating a potential service disruption due to the labour action of Canada Line workers under the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), which provided a 72-hour notice of labour action last Friday.

BCGEU members are employed by the private operator of the Canada Line, Protrans BC, which is a subsidiary of Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

Any labour action of BCGEU members is expected to result in a shutdown of the Canada Line. Services on the Expo Line and Millennium Line will not be affected as they are operated separately, and under the CUPE 7000 union.

Passengers are advised to use Google Trip Planner for alternate bus routes.

“Unionized employees are in a legal position to begin job action at 4 pm… TransLink is working with Coast Mountain Bus Company to monitor customer volumes. They may increase service on some existing routes, if necessary,” reads the bulletin.

“We hope Protrans and its employees will come to an agreement and avoid any impact on our customers who rely on our service in such a critical time.”

Both parties returned to the bargaining table on Sunday, but there are no updates on their progress.

BCGEU is asking for improved sick leave, contract length, and wage parity with CUPE 7000, which reached a last minute deal for their workers in December 2019, avoiding a complete shutdown of the Expo and Millennium lines, which is operated by TransLink subsidiary BC Rapid Transit Company.

About 180 workers on the Canada Line represented by BCGEU have been without a contract since the end of 2019.

Due to COVID-19, ridership on the Canada Line, as of the end of November 2020, has been hovering at about 32% of its normal levels. Prior to the pandemic, it saw about 150,000 average boardings per weekday.

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