According to the Canadian Press, the legislation is expected to run through Canada’s Upper Chamber Thursday evening, after which it will receive royal assent.
A CP Rail spokesman told the news service it would take 12 hours after the bill became law to get the stopped rail cars running again, meaning the nation’s transport of commodities including coal could commence Friday morning.
Service should return to normal levels within 48 hours after restart, the Press reported.
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt told media outlets last week that the strike would cost an estimated $C540 million for every week the union’s workers were not on the job.
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, the union fighting for a new labor contract in the strike, said Wednesday that CP Rail had been “asking for everything” during the deal negotiations and has sought an arbitrated settlement from the first day.
“The back to work legislation puts us in arbitration – right where they want to be – by a conservative-appointed arbitrator,” Teamsters Toronto local union president Richard Moffat said.
“And this all came from Lisa Raitt tipping her hand last week that she was going to order us back to work.”
CP Rail said it had made “multiple reasonable and good faith offers” to the union since the two parties began talks in October 2011.
“The Teamsters pushed their members into an unnecessary work stoppage and have throughout the negotiations refused to minimize the impact on other affected CP employees, our customers and the Canadian economy,” vice president of human resources and industrial relations Peter Edward said.