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Union for Canada's border workers extends strike deadline to Friday

The union representing Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) workers has once again extended its deadline to come to a tentative agreement with the federal government, temporarily averting any job action at ports of entry.

The two sides have been in mediation since last week. The deadline for job action, which was initially set for last Friday and then this coming Wednesday, has now been extended to Friday, June 14 at 12:01 a.m., the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) announced Monday.

The PSAC-affiliated Customs and Immigration Union represents 9,000 CBSA workers, including officers at airports, and land and marine ports of entry, and non-uniformed employees.

«We are still hopeful we can avoid a strike and potential disruptions at Canada's borders,» Sharon DeSousa, PSAC national president, said in a media release.

«No worker wants a strike, but we've set a firm deadline for this government to come to the table with a fair agreement.»

According to CBSA, essential workers make up about 90 per cent of its frontline officer workforce. That means they cannot walk off the job during a strike but could, for example, work to rule.

The union noted that its 2021 job action «nearly brought commercial cross-border traffic to a standstill» and caused delays for travellers at airports and land crossings as well.

The CBSA has said officers are prohibited from deliberately slowing down processing at the border.

Cross-border commuters and business groups have expressed concerns about the possibility of disruption at the land border.

Workers have been without a contract for two years. The union wants to see, among other asks, pay parity with other law enforcement agencies.

Read more on cbc.ca