Significant Travel Delays on U.S.-Canada Border Likely as Canadians Agree to Work Strike

Roughly 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employees have voted in favor of a strike, which is likely to delay travel between Canada and the United States, the union that represents the workers said.

On Tuesday, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union said Tuesday that its members could strike as soon as August 6, just three days before travel without a two-week quarantine for fully vaccinated U.S. citizens is allowed in Canada.

The workers represented by the union are 5,500 border service officers, 2,000 headquarters staffers and other employees at Canada Post facilities and in inland enforcement jobs. The action could cause major slowdowns in courier and travel services, the national president of Public Service Alliance of Canada told reporters.

''We've been in negotiations for over three years, but the employer has flat out refused to address critical workplace issues impacting our members,″ Chris Aylward said.

US/Canada Border Closure
The union that represents about 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency employees has voted in favor of striking, which could affect travel between Canada and the United States. Above, U.S. Customs officers speak with people in a car in Lansdowne, Ontario, on March 22, 2020. LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

The union is now calling on Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and CBSA president John Ossowski to return to the bargaining table.

The union and the employers have been unable to agree on better protections for staff that the union argues would bring them in line with other law enforcement personnel across Canada and address a ''toxic″ workplace culture.

CBSA employees have been without a contract since 2017 and in that time, the union has been negotiating for protections against excessive discipline and harassment, whistle-blowing protections and remote work provisions.

The union warns that the ongoing labor dispute could cause a significant disruption to the flow of goods, services and people entering Canada because traffic at borders may be slowed, while mail and the collection of duties and taxes will be impacted.

On top of allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens to visit Canada starting August 9, the government also plans to open the country's borders to travelers from other countries who are fully vaccinated on September 7.