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Canada

CBSA union warns of June border disruptions following strike mandate

OTTAWA — The union representing workers at the Canada Border Services Agency says a possible strike could affect Canada’s borders this summer.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says 9,000 of its members who work for the CBSA have secured a strike mandate.

It is warning that could lead to “significant disruptions” at Canada’s borders ahead of the busy summer travel season, though the government says most front-line workers would have to keep working.

The union says workers will be in a legal strike position in June, which is also when mediation sessions are scheduled to begin.

It says members have been without a contract for two years, and issues include getting wages in line with other law enforcement agencies and securing remote work options.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will continue to negotiate.

“We know when it comes to CBSA, the work they do is extremely important and extremely difficult,” he said at an unrelated news conference Friday.

“But we also know that the best labour agreements happen at the bargaining table, and that’s exactly where the ministers are focused and we will continue to do that.”

The Treasury Board of Canada says it is willing to continue bargaining.

“Rather than planning for disruption, PSAC should focus on negotiation so we can reach an agreement as quickly as possible that is fair to employees and taxpayers,” it said in a press release.

It said 90 per cent of front-line border employees are classified as essential, which means they would have to continue providing service in the event of a strike.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2024.

Anja Karadeglija, The Canadian Press


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