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Canada Border Services Agency. Image: CBSA Facebook

UPDATED: Border workers vote in favour of strike action

By Brad Perry May 24, 2024 | 10:38 AM

Canadian border workers could be headed for strike action during the busy summer season.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) workers have voted 96 per cent in favour of strike action.

The more than 9,000 members are represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

“Taking job action is always a last resort, but this strong strike mandate underscores that our members are prepared to do what it takes to secure a fair contract,” President Chris Aylward said in a news release on Friday.

Union officials said any strike action could lead to “significant disruptions” to the flow of goods, services, and people.

Job action by CBSA personnel in 2021 caused major delays at airports and borders across the country.

One of the main issues this time around is wages that are aligned with other Canadian law enforcement agencies.

The union is also pushing for flexible telework and remote work options, equitable retirement benefits, and stronger protections around discipline, technological change and hours of work.

A report by the Public Interest Commission is expected to be released before mediation sessions scheduled to begin on June 3.

The union said it would be in a legal strike position following the release of that report.

Meanwhile, the federal government said it remains fully committed to reaching a “fair and reasonable” agreement for border services employees.

“Employees have the right to strike, but at this time it is unnecessary. We are ready and willing to return to the bargaining table at any time,” the government said in a news release.

Federal officials noted that 90 per cent of front-line border services employees are designated as essential, meaning they must continue providing services during a strike.