Yesterday, July 28, 2021, it was announced that the 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) workers voted in favour of a strike. This means that the workers are in a legal strike position as early as next week, because of an impasse in negotiations between their union and the Government of Canada.
Hours after the strike threat, it was announced that negotiations would resume between the CBSA and the government.1
Ninety percent (90%) of Border Services Officers have been identified as essential, meaning that they will continue to offer essential services if there is a strike. It is expected that the officers will fulfill their duties with the highest level of integrity and professionalism, despite the status of the current negotiations.
CBSA operations will carry on as planned as the Agency continues to ensure the safety and security of Canadians while maintaining the flow of goods and services across the border. However, travelers and businesses could experience an increase in border wait times, picketing outside CBSA premises, and wearing of union-related accessories. The CBSA has been actively working to plan for these situations and has developed mitigation strategies to ensure operations will continue.
The CBSA will respond quickly to any job action or work disruption in order to maintain the safety and security of our border, ensure compliance with our laws, and keep the border open to facilitate the flow of legitimate goods and travel.
The CBSA noted the core functions of Border Services Officers work at the waterfront terminals is deemed to be essential and they do not anticipate disruption to the movement of cargo in the event of a strike. The CBSA is working closely with its local managers to ensure picketing plans are in place to allow essential CBSA workers to report to work, which they are required to do.
We will continue to monitor the situation daily and share our findings and advice.
1. Border workers’ union, employers to return to bargaining table after strike threat, CTV News, July 29, 2021. Accessed July 29, 2021.