Workers at CBSA vote overwhelmingly in favour of strike action, border disruptions possible over summer

More than 9,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada working for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have secured an overwhelming strike mandate which could lead to significant disruptions to the flow of goods, services and people at Canadian ports of entry as the busy summer season approaches.

Members voted 96% in favour of taking job action during strike votes held April 10 to May 23, 2024.

“Taking job action is always a last resort, but this strong strike mandate underscores that our members are prepared do what it takes to secure a fair contract,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “Unless they want a repeat of 2021, Treasury Board and CBSA must be prepared to come to the table with a fair offer that addresses our key issues.”

Job action by CBSA personnel in 2021 nearly brought commercial cross-border traffic to a standstill, causing major delays at airports and borders across the country and a marathon 36-hour bargaining session to reach an agreement.

PSAC-Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) members at CBSA include border services officers at airports, land entry points, marine ports, and commercial ports of entry, inland enforcement officers, intelligence officers, investigators, trade officers, and non-uniformed headquarters staff.  

Workers have been without a contract for over two years, yet Treasury Board and CBSA are still not prepared to negotiate an agreement that protects workers, and continue to demand concessions at the bargaining table. 

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 and stronger protections around discipline, technological change and hours of work.

“Our members' response to this vote has been unprecedented – we extended the voting period to meet the overwhelming demand from workers,” said Mark Weber, CIU National President. “We’re sending a clear message to the employer: we’re prepared to fight for fair wages, equitable retirement and to make CBSA a better place to work.”

Possible strike action in June

Both parties last met at a Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearing April 22. The Commission’s report is expected to be released before mediation sessions scheduled to begin June 3 to seek a resolution to the bargaining impasse. PSAC-CIU will be in a legal strike position following the release of the report.

“We’re committed to reaching a fair contract that protects workers and improves working conditions for our members,” said Aylward. “As summer travel season nears, we hope the Trudeau Liberal government is making these negotiations a top priority. The window to avert a strike is closing quickly.”

CBSA personnel deserve fair wages that are aligned with other law enforcement agencies across the country and an equitable retirement regime.



May 24, 2024