As Canada prepares to reopen the borders, Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) officers ready themselves for an impending strike. Following a vote from CBSA unions, strike action could begin as early as August 6th, 2021.
“We will be working very closely with the CBSA union to make sure that we are negotiating, getting to the bargaining table, trying to figure out a path forward,”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
What does a strike at the border mean for travelers entering Canada?
Most CBSA employees are considered essential and can therefore not take full strike action. However, there is a possibility that the strike could cause significant delays at the border.
Following a rejected union contract in May 2008, Canada saw truck delays of up to two hours. While they continued to perform their duties, customs officers “worked to rule”; the officers carried out their tasks in a meticulously time-consuming manner with the intention of slowing down traffic in protest.
“I had a meeting with the prime minister two months ago. I told the prime minister that if they wanted a smooth reopening of the border, then they have to come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer, which we have not seen yet”Chris Aylward, PSAC national president
Although the “window to avert a strike is quickly closing”, Alyward says the unions are still hopeful that the government will return to the negotiating table.
Border to reopen August 9th to fully vaccinated Americans
The border will be opening to non-essential travel for fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents as early as August 9th, 2021.
All other fully-vaccinated travelers can enter Canada as of September 7th, 2021.