July 27, 2021
OTTAWA — A union representing about 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency workers says its members have voted in favour of striking, jeopardizing the federal government’s reopening plans.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union says its members may strike as soon asAug. 6, three days before fully vaccinated U.S. citizens will be able to visit Canada without having to quarantine for two weeks.
PSAC-CIU represents 5,500 border services officers, 2,000 headquarters staff and other workers at Canada Post facilities and in inland enforcement jobs.
The members employed by the CBSA and Treasury Board began holding strike votes in June, after they had been without a contract for nearly three years and talks broke off between the two sides in December.
The union and the employers have been unable to agree on better protections for staff that the union argues would bring them in line with other law enforcement personnel across Canada and address a “toxic” workplace culture.
The union warns that the ongoing labour dispute could cause a significant disruption to the flow of goods, services and people entering Canada because traffic at borders may be slowed while mail and the collection of duties will be impacted.
On top of allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens to visit Canada starting Aug. 9, the government also plans to open the country’s borders to travellers from other countries who are fully vaccinated on Sept. 7.