Canada Customs Workers Threaten to Strike Friday

Posted on Jun 7

Article By: Rick Walker, Vice President, TradeInsights, LCB/CCS

For the past several days, the Canadian government and Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) have been mediating negotiations with the goal of achieving a new collective agreement for the Border Services Group, which includes employees in the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). If an agreement fails to be reached, the PSAC member employees will strike, starting at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, June 7.

Of the Border Services Group, 90 percent of the employees occupy essential services positions and must continue to provide “uninterrupted border services to protect the safety and security of the public,” said the Canadian Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in a statement.

“While the government fully respects the right of employees to gather and demonstrate lawfully, unlawful job action will not be tolerated,” the Canadian Treasury Board added.

The Border Services Group is composed of about 11,000 CBSA positions which are primarily involved in the planning, development, delivery, or management of the inspection and control of people and goods entering Canada. Approximately 9,500 members of the Borders Services Group are represented.

“We are still hopeful that we can reach an agreement to avoid strike action and any potential delays at Canada’s borders,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC National President, in a June 4 statement. “But the clock is ticking for Trudeau’s Liberal government to get to work on a fair contract for our members.”

PSAC members in the FB bargaining group have been without a contract for more than two years. “Key issues in this round of bargaining include fair wages that are aligned with other law enforcement agencies across the country, flexible telework and remote work options, equitable retirement benefits for CBSA law enforcement personnel and stronger workplace protections,” PSAC said.

Job action by CBSA personnel in 2021 nearly brought commercial cross-border traffic to a halt, resulting in major delays at airports and border crossings throughout Canada and a marathon 36-hour bargaining session to reach an agreement.

Despite the legal requirement to continue working, a strike among CBSA employees may once again result in slowdowns of processing cargo at Canada’s border crossings with the U.S.

Interested parties can monitor the actions here.

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