Truckers face delays as CBSA staff to begin job action Friday

by Today's Trucking

Travelers and commercial traffic entering Canada should expect long lineups and lengthy delays at border crossings and airports starting Friday, as nearly 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employees begin job action across the country.  

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) served strike notice to the government Tuesday.  

Trucks shipping goods across the Canada-US border.
The work-to-rule activity by CBSA employees could have a dramatic impact on Canada’s supply chain. (Photo: iStock)

“We truly hoped we wouldn’t be forced to take strike action, but we’ve exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract with the government,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “Treasury Board and CBSA have been clear they aren’t prepared to address critical workplace issues at CBSA at the bargaining table.” 

Sweeping work-to-rule strike activity will take place at all Canadian airports, land borders, commercial shipping ports, postal facilities and headquarters locations and could have a dramatic impact on Canada’s supply chain and the government’s plans to reopen the border to U.S. travelers on Aug. 9.  

“We’ve continued to serve Canadians throughout the pandemic – keeping our borders safe, screening travellers for COVID-19 and clearing vital vaccine shipments,” said Mark Weber, CIU national president. “Now it’s time for the government to step up for CBSA employees.” 

Unionized employees with PSAC and CIU have been without a contract for over three years. They are seeking better protections against a toxic workplace culture at CBSA, and greater parity with other law enforcement agencies across Canada. The union declared impasse in December and applied for a Public Interest Commission hearing after CBSA and Treasury Board were unwilling to address these core issues. 

The commission released its recommendations for both parties to reach a deal, including many improvements to the working conditions of CBSA employees. 

The two sides will return to the table on Aug. 6, but work-to-rule action will begin at 6 a.m. EDT across the country if a new contract isn’t negotiated. 

During work-to-rule strike action, CBSA employees will obey all of the policies, procedures and laws applying to their work, and perform their duties to “the letter of the law”. This may cause long and unavoidable delays at Canada’s borders. 

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  • So they piss off the very people that they want support and sympathy from, piss olf the truckers who have also been out here doing their job on a daily basis and they will find themselves getting a cold ear and even less sympathy from me if they are disrupting my pay and the ability to earn a living.

  • They need to do their job and not disrupt the trucks from doing their job. It’s always the truckers that get screwed by customs by waiting for them to put phone down or paper they are reading or a book. Then its shift change and you have to wait ten minutes for them to get chair just right and then sign in. Oh ya they have to talk to the other guy that they just saw 20 minutes before. For ten minutes then they screw the driver by sending him inside and come to find out there was no problem with paper work. It was the person in the booth that just didn’t want to do their job. So now you are late to deliver and you are screwed on your hours and lost money from sitting and waiting on the person that could not do his or her job right but want more money. But the truck driver that they are holding lost money and make less money than the people in the booth.

  • I’m an essential worker, crossing the border weekly. I am not asking for a raise because I worked throughout the pandemic. They may deserve a raise, this I don’t disagree with, but please, don’t use the pandemic as an excuse. Just do your job, but please don’t disrupt commercial traffic. This is our livelihood

  • Work to rule started Thursday night ( I crossed at 8:15 pm ) at the Peace Bridge. Traffic was backed up on to the 190. It took over an hour to cross the bridge.
    What they were doing was make you wait when you finally got to the window, then after about 5 minutes they would open the window, take your paperwork, close the window, wait another 5 minutes, then reopen the window and start the clearance process. All in all the procedure took about 15 minutes at the window.
    What a go guys, screw us truckers like everyone else does, shippers, receivers, truck stops, go ahead we out here on the road never need to use a bathroom or wash our hands. Yeah, but don’t forget if you can’t wear a mask, we won’t even look at you.

  • Is this to say that “During work-to-rule strike action, CBSA employees will obey all of the policies, procedures and laws applying to their work, and perform their duties to the letter of the law”, that these individuals don’t obey all of the policies, procedures and laws applying to their work normally?
    This is where some types of employment look like cry babies.
    Gimme a break

  • Of course the truck drivers have to pay the ultimate price like always makes you rethink about driving a truck cross border