Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) staff began a work-to-rule strike on Friday that will mean longer wait times than usual for people entering the country at land and air borders.
The labour action begins just days before Canada is set to lift border restrictions to allow fully vaccinated US tourists to enter the country on Monday, August 9.
More than 9,000 border staff members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada union are participating in the strike, where they’ll perform their duties to the letter of the law and not do any additional work.
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The employees have been without a contract for three years. The union advocates for pay parity with other law enforcement agencies across the country and better protections for staff who are suffering in what PSAC calls a “toxic workplace culture at CBSA.”
Striking workers include those employed at airports, land borders, shipping ports, and mail facilities.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the union advised travellers and commercial traffic to expect “long lineups and lengthy delays.”
Commercial traffic should expect long lineups and delays at the border as our members start work-to-rule strike action across Canada.
We’ve been at the bargaining table all night and morning and will provide updates ASAP. https://t.co/VhxRc3X1l0
— PSAC-AFPC (@psac_afpc) August 6, 2021
Pearson International Airport in Toronto has asked travellers to arrive early for their flights and advised international arrivals to be prepared for longer than normal wait times.
If you are arriving, be prepared for the potential of longer wait times during the arrivals process. We appreciate your patience as we work to prioritize a safe, efficient operation.
— Toronto Pearson (@TorontoPearson) August 6, 2021
Pearson also said arriving passengers should expect to wait three hours to enter the country once US tourists are allowed in next week.