CBSA strike expected to result in delays at land borders and airports in British Columbia
VANCOUVER – People crossing the border into Canada should expect longer lines and more delays starting Friday.
The union representing the Canada Border Services Agency says workers are quitting.
A spokesperson for the Public Service Alliance of Canada said bargaining teams have spent all night at the bargaining table, but formal labor actions have started across the country.
Workers want better pay parity with other law enforcement officers.
They are also concerned about what they call a toxic workplace with harassment and abuse.
“We really hoped we didn’t have to go on strike, but we exhausted all other avenues to get a fair deal with the government,” said Chris Aylward, National President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. , in a press release.
The labor action comes just three days before fully vaccinated Americans are allowed to re-enter Canada without having to self-quarantine.
Nine thousand CBSA workers have been without contracts for three years.
They are considered essential workers, so they cannot completely quit their jobs, but there will be fewer people on the job and the workers will not take overtime.
This will likely lead to longer queues and delays at airports and land border crossings.
“The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), as a dynamic and responsive organization that provides high quality border services, will respond quickly to any action / work disruption in order to keep our border secure, from ensure compliance with our laws, and keep the border open to legitimate travelers and goods, ”wrote Jacqueline Callin, spokesperson for the agency, in a response to CTV News.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he hopes they will reach a deal at the negotiating table soon.
“We will continue to be there to support Canadian workers who work every day to keep us safe,” Trudeau said Thursday.
“I want to acknowledge that, like so many different Canadians in various jobs, our border guards have had extremely difficult roles to fill over the past year and a half and I want to thank them for their words, their work and their efforts. say that we will continue to work with them to resolve these challenges.
Vancouver International Airport says it is aware of the action and hopes there will be minimal disruption to passengers.
“Safe and efficient travel through YVR is our priority as we welcome more international travelers once again as part of Canada’s safe, risk-based and measured approach to reopening Canada’s borders,” said Megan Batchelor of the Vancouver Airport Authority.
“We are committed to keeping passengers informed of any change in the travel experience.”
The labor action will also apply to CBSA employees at shipping ports and postal facilities, so packages entering Canada could also be delayed.
The workers will also not collect the duties and taxes during the work action.