The two unions representing more than 8,500 Canada Border Services Agency employees announced this morning that the majority of their members have given them a strike mandate.
That means they could begin strike action as soon as August 6, mere days before Canada reopens the border to fully vaccinated U.S. residents, said the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union in a news release.
Many border workers would be deemed essential — but the union said strike action could slow down commercial traffic at the border and ports of entry, hit international mail and parcel deliveries from Canada Post and other major shipping companies, and disrupt the collection of duties and taxes on goods entering Canada.
The unions’ members — who have been without a contract since June 2018 — include border service officers at airports, land entry points, marine ports and commercial ports of entry, inland enforcement officers, intelligence officers, investigators, trade officers, hearings officers and non-uniformed members.
Their essential services agreement permits 2,600 members to take full strike action, while essential workers can take work-to-rule actions in their workplace.
The unions have been fighting primarily for three things: salary parity with other law enforcement workers in Canada; better protections against harassment and discrimination; and a remote work policy for non-uniformed members.