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CBSA strike looms as early as June 7, CTA calls for intervention – Truck News

The clock is ticking to avoid a nationwide strike by more than 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employees at Canada’s borders. If an agreement is not reached at the table with CBSA and the Treasury Board this week, the job action across the country could start June 7 at 4 p.m. EST.

The union announced in late May that 96% of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members who work for CBSA voted to strike. Workers have been without a contract for more than two years, says PSAC, adding the union is seeking fair wages, flexible remote work options, equitable retirement benefits, and stronger protections around discipline, technological change, and hours of work.

strike sign
(Photo: iStock)

“We are still hopeful that we can reach an agreement to avoid strike action and any potential delays at Canada’s borders,” said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC national president, in a news release. “But the clock is ticking for Trudeau’s Liberal government to work on a fair contract for our members.”

The two sides remain in negotiations this week with the assistance of a mediator in a last-ditch effort to reach an agreement.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says that while there are “undoubtedly complex and challenging” decisions to be made, the federal government must make them to prevent economic chaos from threatening Canada’s supply chains and financial viability.

“The U.S.-Canada supply chain is already facing the potential for significant disruptions because of unsettled railway labor negotiations. The potential labor disruption between certain unionized employees of CBSA and the Government of Canada could significantly add to these disruptions,” CTA said in a statement.

Strike timing ‘problematic’

“Although supply chain disruptions at any time are not a good thing, the current timing of this potential border disruption is particularly problematic as trucking continues to grapple with ongoing volatility throughout the sector – including significant retirements and loss of labor/capital productivity because of federal legislation governing sick days.”

CBSA job action in 2021 nearly brought commercial cross-border traffic to a standstill, causing major delays at borders across the country. It took a 36-hour bargaining session to reach an agreement.

CTA says that border delays are poised to strike a blow to crucial employment sectors such as automotive and others dependent on just-in-time delivery systems, potentially jeopardizing thousands of Canadian jobs. This disruption could also deter potential investors who value Canada’s proximity to U.S. markets, potentially causing them to rethink their plans to establish operations in the country.

“Pharmaceuticals, industrial gases, chemicals, and foodstuffs required in both countries are essential commodities – many of which have limited inventories and supply beyond a few days or less. Maintaining these essential services is critical to keeping the efficiency of the supply chain intact and Canadians employed.”


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