Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Work-to-rule action “will have a far greater impact on Canada’s critical supply chain” than full strike, Border Service admits

Photo: Public Service Alliance Canada

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) has served strike notice to the government. This means effective Friday, August 6 at 6:00 am, all Border Service members will begin work-to-rule action across the country.

“Ask every question in your manual at ports of entry,” agents have been directed by PSAC in a memo.

“This is our opportunity to cause significant disruptions to CBSA (Canada Border Service Agency) 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,” reads an unusually frank communication to members posted to the PSAC website August 4th.


“This is our opportunity to cause significant disruptions.”

Public Service Alliance Canada

“During a work-to-rule, we’re asking you to obey all of the policies, procedures and laws applying to your work, and to perform your duties to ‘the letter of the law.’ Don’t work during your breaks or unpaid lunches. Don’t work past your scheduled work hours. Ask every question in your manual at ports of entry.

“This may cause long and unavoidable delays at Canada’s borders, but we know you take pride in your work and will rely on your discretion to not cut any corners while performing your duties.”

Detailing the motive behind PSAC’s strategy, the statement goes on to note that “Beginning August 6, there won’t be picket lines organized at worksites. That’s because 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.

“There’s no doubt our job action will result in slower processing and longer wait times. While unfortunate for travelers and commercial shipping, the blame rests squarely with Treasury Board, CBSA and the government for their inaction, disrespect and chronic understaffing.”

Travellers hoping to cross the border during the strike action should expect exhaustive exchanges with CBSA agents: “All duties relating to the safety and security of Canada are essential and, in fact, should be done with greater diligence and in line with all enforcement manuals and legislation.”

Canadians concerned about the financial status of PSAC members during the strike action will be relieved to know that they will experience no loss of salary during this first step: “During a work-to-rule, you will not receive strike pay because all FB members will remain at work for their regularly scheduled shifts and in your typical roles. Therefore for this first stage, there will be no loss of salary.”

However, the statement goes on to read, “This is just the first step in our strike activities. 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. Only then will essential and non-essential designations come into play.”

The Public Service Alliance of Canada Structure Map makes no reference to Canadian taxpayers.