Canada-U.S. border reopening threatened by 'dramatic' disruption after strike vote

Risque of slowdown at the border: Canada's reopening plans could be delayed by the timing of this potential strike. Last week, the Trudeau government announced that Canada would allow fully vaccinated Americans into Canada for discretionary travel starting Aug. 9. Aylward stated that border officers who are trying to enforce rules could cause disruptions in the flow of people, goods and services into Canada. It could jeopardize Canada’s plans to reopen Canada’s U.S. border for fully vaccinated Americans, stated Aylward. He was joined by Mark Weber, Customs and Immigration Union national president. Weber stated that the unions have not yet created a plan or strategy for strike actions, as they believe there is still time to reach an agreement. The labor standoff: After three years of negotiations between the unions and the border agency, talks came to a halt last December. Weber stated that the CBSA is at the bottom of employee satisfaction according to data from its own survey. Weber stated that it is also tops for harassment, workplace violence, and management intimidation. These results don't surprise me at all. Although our members love what they do, they are struggling with toxic work environments at the CBSA. Weber stated that CBSA staffers also seek parity with other law enforcement agencies. Weber said that the government offered border officers less money than it did to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The governments take: Trudeau was later Tuesday asked about possible strikes and how it might impact his plans to relax border controls for Americans who have been vaccinated. He stated that the challenges faced by border guards were reduced staffing and increased responsibility during the pandemic. Trudeau stated that he was willing to work with them, and that he is optimistic there will not be disruptions. Jean-Yves Duclos, a spokesperson for the Treasury Board President, reiterated Tuesday that the government was disappointed by the PSAC's rejection of a fair offer. He said the offer included wage adjustments as well as provisions consistent with agreements reached with more than 88% of federal public servants. The statement stated that our goal is to make constructive steps towards advancing negotiations and that we are open to returning to bargaining at any time. A border strike could cripple supply chains: Dennis Darby (president of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters) said Tuesday that another trade disruption would be costly for the country. He urged all parties to come back to the table. Darby stated in a statement that any disruption to our economy and the flow of essential goods into Canada will have major impacts on our recovery. This will affect the ability of manufacturers to obtain essential components and goods for global supply chains and could threaten thousands of Canadian businesses. State of the border: The Biden administration took a more conservative approach and renewed the restrictions on U.S.-Canada land crossings up to Aug. 21. For months, business leaders, families, and legislators in U.S. Northern border districts have been pressing Trudeau to open the shared land crossings for no-necessary travel. Biden has been under intense pressure to come up with a plan for reopening the border after Canada's announcement last week. The White House announced Monday that the U.S. would not change its travel restrictions. It cited the Delta variant of Covid-19 and an increase in Covid-19-related cases. Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that the restrictions will likely remain in place for the next few weeks. Psaki noted, however, that nothing is set in stone. More from Trudeau: Trudeau was also questioned Tuesday about whether he overreacted to his plan to relax border controls for U.S. citizens starting Aug. 9. This was due to the increase in Delta cases among Americans. Trudeau, Moncton, N.B., stated that the health data shows that fully vaccinated people are at low risk. It is not risk-free, but it is very low risk. Trudeau said he was confident it was the right decision because Canada has a low number of cases. Canada plans to accept fully vaccinated travellers from other countries beginning Sept. 7. He said that the government would move slowly and will monitor the situation closely to avoid going backwards. Next: Unions believe the government can avoid striking by coming back to the table with an equitable plan. Weber stated that even though we have received a strong strike mandate from our members, it is not yet certain that there will be a strike.