Unions representing Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) workers, who recently received a strike mandate from their membership, have announced a work-to-rule campaign beginning August 6, 2021. While not a full union strike, any work action could significantly impact cross-border operations managed by the agency.
According to communication from the unions, CBSA officers will execute their duties to the ‘letter of the law’ ensuring full compliance with all required processes and procedures. In doing so, unionized CBSA officers are expected to slow the processing of passenger and commercial transactions across the Canadian border, impacting all ports of entry or departure.
Delays resulting from this CBSA work action may drive a cascade effect as Canadian ports and other trade infrastructure struggle with increased freight or vehicle congestion. The international freight environment currently faces unprecedented challenges with the timely movement of cargo resulting from the COVID pandemic and available carrier capacity, amongst other factors.
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:
- Validating 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 additional information and assistance.