Any traveller hoping to enter Canada this month should prepare for lengthy delays at border crossings and airports starting Friday, August 6, as nearly 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency employees begin job action across the country.
According to the federal government, both the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) served strike notice on Tuesday
“We truly hoped we wouldn’t be forced to take strike action, but we’ve exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract with the government,” said Chris Aylward, Public Service Alliance of Canada National President. “Treasury Board and CBSA have been clear they aren’t prepared to address critical workplace issues CBSA at the bargaining table.”
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the CBSA employee representatives said that the strike activity will take place at all Canadian airports, land borders, commercial shipping ports, postal facilities and headquarters locations and could have a “dramatic impact” on Canada’s supply chain and the government’s plans to reopen the border to U.S. travellers on August 9.
“We’ve continued to serve Canadians throughout the pandemic – keeping our borders safe, screening travellers for COVID-19 and clearing vital vaccine shipments,” said Mark Weber, CIU national president. “Now it’s time for the government to step up for CBSA employees.”
Unionized employees with PSAC and the Customs and Immigration Union have been without a contract for over three years, said the government.
The strikers are also seeking better protections against a toxic workplace culture at CBSA, and greater parity with other law enforcement agencies across Canada.
“The union declared impasse in December and applied for a Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearing after CBSA and Treasury Board were unwilling to address these core issues,” reads a statement from the CBSA.
The Commission released its recommendations for both parties to reach a deal, including many improvements to the working conditions of CBSA employees. Read more about the PIC’s recommendations.
The two sides will return to the table on August 4, but work-to-rule action will begin August 6 at 6 a.m.