Nutrien Inc. plans to temporarily shut down its largest potash mine next week as a result of the ongoing Canadian National Railway Co. strike.

The company announced Monday that it will be idling its Rocanville, Sask. mine for two weeks starting on Dec. 2, and that notification of the production curtailment had already been sent to employees. A Nutrien spokesperson confirmed to BNN Bloomberg via email that the shutdown impacts approximately 600 Nutrien employees, with 550 expected to be laid off during the shutdown period.

“It is extremely disappointing that in a year when the agricultural sector has been severely impacted by poor weather and trade disputes, the CN strike will add further hardship to the Canadian agriculture industry,” Nutrien president and CEO Chuck Magro said in a release.

“Any further disruption will be harmful to our business, the Canadian economy, and Canada’s competitive position and reputation as a reliable supplier of fertilizer and food. However, most concerning is the impact on our hundreds of employees for whom this creates great uncertainty and hardship leading up to the holiday season,” he added.

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Scotiabank analyst Ben Isaacson said in a research note to clients on Monday that the temporary shutdown of Nutrien’s mine will negatively impact Canada's position as a dependable fertilizer supplier.

“While the immediate catalyst for the temporary closure is the CN Rail strike, the decision also comes at a time when global potash shipments face a soft market, so this is not necessarily bad from a supply/demand point of view,” Isaacson said.

He added that the Nutrien’s decision to shut its mine for two weeks may also result in a similar move for The Mosaic Co.’s potash mine in Esterhazy, Sask. as well.  

Nutrien is just one of many Canadian businesses feeling the ripple effect of the CN strike, which has entered its seventh day.

The labour stoppage continues to impact shipping across the country.

The federal government is being urged by industry members to take action to resolve the strike immediately, as they worry about profit losses and a propane shortage affecting Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.

Meanwhile, Canada's agriculture minister is urging CN and its workers to reach a deal to alleviate the impact the strike is having on farmers.

Marie-Claude Bibeau delivered remarks at the Canadian Western Agribition show in Regina, where she also met with producers.

She says she's heard from farmers about how the strike is affecting them.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has called on the federal government to intervene in the strike and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has requested Parliament be recalled to pass back-to-work legislation.

Moe has said the strike cannot drag on because it will mean job losses in agriculture.

More than 3,000 CN rail workers have been off work since early last week.