Statement of the CIU National President on COVID-19 and measures at the border

March 13, 2020
Image of border crossing with the words "COVID-19"

Sisters and Brothers, the Customs and Immigration Union is monitoring closely the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

We are conscious that the current state of affairs is concerning to all CIU members, be it for the safety of their family or their own well-being. A large number of CIU members are active on the front lines, where they encounter travellers frequently, and where safety is paramount.

We have called on the government repeatedly to improve current measures to ensure proper screening and mitigate risk to our officers, our members, and Canadians everywhere. While our working relationship with CBSA regarding the current pandemic remains fair, we are disappointed in the lack of overall information and guidance provided by other parts of the federal government. We are working diligently to get clear information from CBSA and other agencies on what this unprecedented situation means for all affected members. In terms of recent developments, we now know that international inbound flights will be restricted to certain airports, although exact locations have not been confirmed yet.

At this time, all members should follow established safety protocols. Front line personnel should wear proper equipment, including masks, gloves, and goggles. Stay home if you are sick. We are steadfast in our discussions with management that any preventative quarantine time should be at the employer’s expense, and we are calling upon CBSA management to allow teleworking for all employees who reasonably can. We encourage you to review your rights at work. Contact your Branch President or your local health and safety representatives for assistance.

On the union side of things, we are also taking measures to ensure the safety of our members, our elected officials, and our employees. PSAC has already announced that strike votes and union events are suspended, and we are following suit. Our own union events, such as the upcoming meeting of the National Board of Directors in early April, have been cancelled for the time being.

Again, it bears repeating that the situation is evolving extremely quickly, and information is subject to change. We will make sure to keep you updated based on the information that is available to us.

Jean-Pierre Fortin
CIU National President

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