Following the breakdown of negotiations, technical, professional, maintenance and office workers at Canadian utility Hydro-Québec walked out of their jobs on 6 May, after voting overwhelmingly (80%) for strike action.

Although the number of workers involved in the strike decision was about 16,000, only about 2000 of these are actually out on strike. The province of Québec, invoking its essential services law, has kept nearly 14,000 of them on the job. The Independent System Operator (ISO) for New England states said that the strike did not affect electricity supplies or power exports to the US.

ISO New England Inc., based in Holyoke, Massachusetts., is an independent group that oversees operation of NEPOOL, the system used to schedule bulk power transmission over the region’s high-voltage lines. According to the ISO, out of a peak load of 15,200MW, about 1500MW was being supplied by Hydro-Québec.