Unions Representing Canada Border Services Agency Employees Receive Strike Mandate

Unions representing Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) workers received a strike mandate from their membership who have been without a contract since 2018. A strike may be called by the unions as early as August 6th, 2021. No strike or work actions have yet been announced by the unions, subject to negotiations being re-established with the federal government.

While most CBSA union members, especially front-line officers, are covered by Canada’s essential services legislation, any strike or work actions may still result in supply chain disruptions. Customs import and export operations are increasingly automated. However, transactions or corrections requiring secondary processing by CBSA officers may face additional scrutiny or delay in the event of any future work action.

Delays resulting from CBSA work actions may also drive a cascade effect as Canadian ports of entry and other infrastructure struggle with freight or vehicle congestion. The international freight environment already faces unprecedented challenges with the timely movement of cargo resulting from the COVID pandemic and available capacity, among other factors. CBSA work actions could multiple those existing challenges.

Importers, exporters, and Trade Chain Partners (TCP) are encouraged to carefully review their operations to mitigate any supply chain impact. Areas to focus on include:

  • Confirming information provided to customs, either directly or indirectly, is complete and accurate.
  • Ensuring information and documentation is provided to carriers, customs brokers, and/or forwarders as early as possible to minimize secondary (manual) cargo processing by CBSA.
  • Coordinating and confirming all electronic customs filings are accepted by CBSA in a timely manner as required, especially prior to cargo arriving at the respective Canadian port of entry.
  • Scheduling cargo pick-up and delivery as early as possible prior to arrival at the port.
  • Arranging cargo (where possible) to arrive outside peak hours of port operations.

Delmar continues to monitor this situation closely. Additional information will be provided as it is made available. Please contact your local Delmar Representative for further information and assistance.

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