Long lines at Cornwall CBSA checkpoint as work-to-rule action begins

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By Nick Seebruch
Long lines at Cornwall CBSA checkpoint as work-to-rule action begins
Long lines at the CBSA checkpoint in Cornwall on Friday morning, August 6, 2021 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – There was a long line at the Cornwall Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) checkpoint on Friday, Aug. 6 as CBSA union employees begin work-to-rule action.

“We truly hoped we wouldn’t be forced to take strike action, but we’ve exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract with the government,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President. “Treasury Board and CBSA have been clear they aren’t prepared to address critical workplace issues at CBSA at the bargaining table.”

The employees who are represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) have been working without a contract for over three years. At issue is what the unions characterize as a toxic workplace environment and a desire for parity with other Canadian law enforcement agencies.

“We’ve continued to serve Canadians throughout the pandemic – keeping our borders safe, screening travellers for COVID-19 and clearing vital vaccine shipments,” said Mark Weber, CIU national president. “Now it’s time for the government to step up for CBSA employees.”

A union representative stated on Friday morning that the unions were continuing negotiations with their employers and had been in discussions with them throughout the previous night. He said that the situation was evolving rapidly.

The unions represent over 9,000 employees across Canada. As a part of their work-to-rule action the unions state that their members would be obeying “all of the policies, procedures and laws applying to their work, and perform their duties to ’the letter of the law’. This may cause long and unavoidable delays at Canada’s borders as workers carry out their jobs as they were trained to do.”

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