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Border guard strike could derail border reopening, mail delivery

A group of Canadian border control union members holding signs and flags
Customs and Immigration Union
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More than 8,500 unionized staff with the Canada Border Services Agency gave their union an overwhelming strike mandate Tuesday.

Two unions representing Canadian border guards are threatening to go on strike as soon as Aug. 6 — a move that could cause slowdowns at the border, set to reopen on a limited basis with the US on Aug. 9, and disrupt Canadian mail service.

"Taking strike action is always a last resort, but we’re grappling with systemic workplace harassment issues that must be addressed,” said Mark Weber, national president of the Customs and Immigration Union. “The toxic workplace culture at CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) is taking a heavy toll on the mental health and well-being of our members.”

The some 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency employees have voted in favor of strike action work at Canada Post facilities.

Public Service Alliance of Canada National President Chris Aylward said members of the PSAC and CIU have been in negotiations for more than three years. He insists the government has refused to address critical workplace issues.

“Our members at CBSA have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic, and many have contracted COVID-19 while working,” Aylward said. “They’ve kept our borders safe, screened travelers entering Canada, and ensured the rapid clearance of vaccine shipments. Now it’s time for the government to step up for them the way they’ve stepped up for Canadians.”