9 June 2020 | Canada

Containment measures deployed in Canada (and elsewhere) to address the spread of Covid-19 have impacted business markets, supply chains and diverse economic sectors. CILT North America considers business continuity and the ongoing management of risk within the transport, logistics, and supply chain sectors in their region:

In support of business continuity, business organisations (such as Chambers of Commerce), professional organisations (accounting, legal) and industry associations have disseminated information and made resources available to address financial pressures and corporate governance challenges (such as strategic planning and risk management). Particular attention is paid to promoting effective communications with employees, clients, stakeholders, the public and various levels of government.

Where feasible, remote working capabilities have been broadly implemented across industries and organisations to maintain service and operations. Enhanced cyber-security and communication protocols have evolved as corporate and institutional requirements have risen substantially.

Federal and provincial government resources have been deployed and measures implemented to mitigate financial impacts. These cover a range of government assistance programs including small business support, emergency loans to large employers, commercial rent relief, wage subsidies and trade (export/import) resources. Payment deferrals and, for certain items, temporary relief of import tariffs are in place, for example on essential items for health care agencies, hospitals and first-responders.

The Air sector has been one of the hardest hit in Canada, as it has in many parts of the world. Due to international travel restrictions, a sharp drop in demand for travel and tourism, and the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel, airlines have substantially curtailed service, and implemented equipment and employee reductions to reduce cost pending recovery. Additional measures include development of new passenger safety and bio security protocols. Operationally, carriers are dedicating more resources to air cargo services that have seen strong demand – including some conversions from passenger to cargo configurations.

The federal government is waving ground lease rents (March 2020 to December 2020) for Canadian airport authorities that pay rent to the federal government. In addition, Transport Canada (i.e. the federal transport authority) has launched a review of the Covid-19 impact on smaller airports and air operators. The federal government is also providing funding, and partnering with territorial governments to support critical air services to Northern and remote communities.

Canadian ports have remained operational as key links in the movement of goods in global supply chains. Ports, shipping lines and marine operators have implemented safety protocols and engaged in sharing of best practices.

Major railways have been affected by the widespread slowdown throughout global supply chains. In the face of declining volumes, railways have made workforce and operational (equipment)
adjustments. In a recent webinar hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, CN outlined measures the railway company has put in place to keep employees safe and healthy, the railway’s communications with stakeholders as well as dealings with regulatory authorities and border agencies during the pandemic.

The closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all non-essential traffic has been extended to June 21. Commercial traffic is exempt from this restriction. Bi-national organizations (e,g, the Future Borders Coalition which CILTNA is joining as an associate member) are working to address short and long term implications of the pandemic and in the development of new technologies in border management.

This is an example of industry analysis from North America which we are sharing as part of our global best practice resource to help you think about and determine appropriate responses locally.