Border strike on hold as mediation continues for CBSA employees

Will they or won’t they?

The union representing over 9,000 employees of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has announced that planned strike action, which was slated to begin Friday at 4 p.m., was temporarily suspended.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union representing these workers, declared on Friday afternoon via X/Twitter that all strike activities are paused as mediation will extend until Wednesday, June 12.

“Picket lines will not be in place until further notice,” the statement read.

In the event of a strike, CBSA officials confirmed that the borders would remain open. Most front-line border services officers are classified as essential workers and are mandated to provide essential services during a strike.

However, the work-to-rule action could result in employees adhering strictly to their contract obligations, potentially causing operational slowdowns.

For day-trippers, tourists, and families planning to cross into the United States at the Peace Bridge, a strike could mean encountering picket lines near Canadian border points and facing longer wait times to reach their destinations.

The implications of a strike could also ripple through airports, shipping ports, and postal facilities, affecting various aspects of travel and trade.

The union had initially indicated that the strike could start as early as 4 p.m. on Friday if negotiations failed to yield an agreement. However, ongoing discussions have forestalled immediate action.

The federal Treasury Board expressed satisfaction with PSAC’s decision to continue mediation efforts.

“To date, discussions have been productive, and we remain committed to reaching an agreement that is fair and reasonable for members of the Border Services group as quickly as possible,” the department said in a statement.

Historically, similar strike actions have had significant impacts. A strike three years ago nearly halted commercial border traffic and caused substantial delays nationwide, a scenario the union warns could recur if current talks falter.

As mediation proceeds, all eyes are on Wednesday’s deadline to see if an agreement can be reached, avoiding the disruptive potential of a strike.

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