Possible Delays as CBSA Employees Start Work-to-Rule Job Action

CBSA Officer with Border Crossing in Background

Trade Update • AUGUST 5, 2021

HHaving failed to make any progress at the bargaining table since giving strike notice to the government on July 27, unions representing roughly 9,000 employees of Canada Border Services Agency are poised to begin work-to-rule action across the country effective Friday, August 6 at 6:00 a.m. (EDT).

In a statement, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Customs and Immigration Union said the sweeping job action “is our opportunity to cause significant disruptions to CBSA operations and force the government to come back to the table to address the toxic workplace culture at CBSA and provide parity with other law enforcement personnel across Canada.”


Rather than organizing picket lines at ports and other CBSA worksites, PSAC-CIU believes that “work-to-rule action will have a far greater impact on Canada’s critical supply chain and the federal government’s plans to reopen the border to U.S. travelers on August 9.”

During the work-to-rule action, CBSA employees have been instructed to perform their duties strictly to “the letter of the law.” In this regard, workers have been advised “to not cut any corners while performing your duties,” but instead to exercise even “greater diligence” when it comes to enforcing regulations. “Ask every question in your manual at ports of entry,” PSAC-CIU suggests, while acknowledging that border officers doing so “may cause long and unavoidable delays at Canada’s borders.”

Possible Escalation

PSAC-CIU states this is “just the first step in our strike activities,” warning that other types of strikes, including a general strike, rotating strikes, and strategic strikes, “are all options under consideration for the next phases as we ramp up our strike action.” Importantly, the union notes that “only then will essential and non-essential designations come into play.”

CBSA Strike – What You Can Expect

Despite the job action being taken by CBSA employees starting August 6th, this will not impact our ability to serve our clients as more than 98% of the work GHY performs involves advanced data. As always, we will ensure shipments are electronically processed and traceable to clients and carriers. Even though labour disruptions have historically not significantly affected commercial imports, we are working closely with other supply chain partners to avoid or minimize disruption during this time. However, should we become aware of any impactful changes and/or delays resulting from an escalation of PSAC-CIU’s job actions, we will notify clients immediately.

Related Posts

Sign Up for Trade Updates

Get weekly or daily insights into all things trade, delivered right to your inbox.

* indicates required