In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the CIU National Executive and CBSA have been meeting by teleconference on a weekly basis to ensure the health and safety of our members and those close to them. On March 30, we discussed the following.
With many of our officers currently on the frontline, we welcome ongoing rescheduling efforts to allow our members to be ‘off the line’ as much as possible — therefore reducing COVID-19 transmission risks. By and large, the employer has been forthcoming in seeking the union’s advice on how to accomplish this through existing VSSAs. We realize that this may not be possible for all work locations. We recommend that members in these situations contact their Branch President to discuss possible solutions better adapted to their location, so that the union may bring it up with the employer.
Self-Monitoring and Self-Quarantine
We advise members who have been contacted by PHAC or another agency with instructions to self-monitor after coming into contact with a person later diagnosed with COVID-19 to follow up with that agency and review – in detail – their interaction with said person. There have been incidents where the initial advice was to self-monitor, only for the agency to change the recommendation to self-quarantine following more information about the interaction.
CBSA is looking into plexiglass shields to help protect our members in secondary processing. All Branches should be checking with their Health and Safety Committees to make sure this is addressed.
We have brought up the problem of travellers crossing the border for supplies such as gas and groceries, despite the non-essential travel order. CBSA is not considering recourses at this time. Please let your Branch executive know if this is an ongoing issue at your port so CIU can continue to pressure the employer and the government to find a solution.
We can confirm that CBSA has canceled all training until further notice. Control and Defensive Tactics or Duty Firearm certifications that have expired will be extended for the duration of the crisis.
6990 Leave & Telework
CBSA has stated that each 6990 leave case will be assessed individually, taking into consideration the health of the officer and of their family as the most important factor. We recommend that members contact their Branch President should their request for leave due to childcare obligations or at risk status be denied.
National management has been encouraging regional and local managers to find ways to promote social distancing between colleagues, including having non-critical work performed in alternate locations. Members who are being called into the workplace to perform what they feel is non-critical duties should contact their local union executive for assistance.
As always, we will keep you updated as the situation progresses. In many respects, these are uncharted waters, and we will keep pressuring the employer to put in place the necessary measures to allow our members to look to their safety while serving Canadians everywhere.