OTTAWA (Agencies): Canadian border agents have reached a tentative deal as the country sets to reopen to Americans.
The four-year agreement achieved after a 36-hour negotiation session applies to more than 9,000 staffers with the Canada Border Services Agency who had started work-to-rule actions on Friday — slowdown strategies that included agents asking every question in their manual at ports of entry.
Union leaders had warned strike actions would cause “dramatic disruptions” at airports, land crossings, commercial ports and postal facilities.
Labor dispute impasse: Negotiations between the unions, the border agency and the Treasury Board of Canada dragged on for three years before they hit a stalemate last December. Border staffers wanted parity with other Canadian law enforcement agencies. W-orkers had also urged the government to address wor-kplace culture concerns.
The parties returned to the table in recent days after the unions said members voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of strike actions.
Business groups on both sides of the border pressed the federal government and the labor unions to strike a new deal.
The tentative deal: The new four-year deal includes an average annual increase of more than 2 percent per year as well as provisions for parental and caregiver leave, the union said.
“We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labour dispute,” PSAC national president Chris Aylward said in a statement.
What’s next: Starting Monday, Canada will welcome fully vaccinated Americans for discretionary travel for the first time since March 2020.