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PSAC, Border Agents Reach Deal for 9000 Employees

Ottawa –  After what was called ” an intense final round of negotiations that lasted more than 36 hours”, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) reached a tentative agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) late Friday, August 6 that secures a tentative agreement for nearly 9,000 CBSA employees. 

“We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labour dispute,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “The agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked through the night to reach a deal.” 

The agreement means an immediate end to work-to-rule strike action that had begun Friday, August 6 and ensures the flow of border traffic will return to normal as the government prepares to welcome fully vaccinated U.S. travellers on Monday, August 9. 

Negotiations between PSAC-CIU and CBSA began in January 2019 but reached an impasse in December 2020. In May 2021, the union presented arguments at Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings and a PIC report was issued in July with non-binding recommendations. Following national strike votes throughout June and July, PSAC-CIU announced an overwhelming strike mandate at the end of July and issued an official strike notice on August 3. Work-to-rule action began across the country August 6 at 6 a.m. EDT.  

Highlights of the tentative agreement include: 

  • A four-year agreement from 2018-2021 with an average annual increase of over 2% per year; 
  • Better protections against excessive discipline in the workplace; 
  • The creation of a National Joint Committee to tackle workplace culture problems at CBSA; 
  • A paid meal allowance for uniformed members, similar to what most Canadian law enforcement agencies provide; 
  • A commitment letter to advance the work toward the introduction of early retirement benefits for CBSA employees; 
  • A better grievance-handling process;  
  • Domestic violence leave; 
  • Other leave and allowance improvements.  

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