Canada Border Services Agency workers reach tentative deal: union

By Patricia D'Cunha

More than 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) workers have reached a tentative agreement, their union says.

Workers were initially set to start job action on June 7, but it was postponed after an agreement was reached to extend mediation talks. The union then set a new strike deadline for Friday.

“Our bargaining team has been working around the clock to secure the best contract for our members,” Sharon DeSousa, national president of Public Service Alliance of Canada, stated in a release. “This is a well-deserved victory for our members at CBSA who safeguard our nation’s borders and ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”

The key issues for bargaining included pay parity with other law enforcement agencies, remote work options, and pension benefits.

“This tentative agreement demonstrates that the best agreements are always reached at the bargaining table. Border Services employees are critical to the safety and security of our borders and this tentative agreement recognizes the importance of that work while remaining reasonable for taxpayers,” Treasury Board President Anita Anand said in a statement.

The union said details of the tentative deal will be released once it shared with members on Thursday. Members still need to vote to ratify the deal.

The government said 90 per cent of front-line border officers are designated as essential, which means if workers did strike they wouldn’t have been able to walk off the job. However, they could work-to-rule, which could have brought trade to a standstill and cause hours of delays for travellers trying to cross the border into Canada.

A similar strike three years ago nearly brought commercial border traffic to a standstill and caused major delays across the country.

With files from Michael Talbot, CityNews; and The Canadian Press

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