Author Archives: Pierre St-Jacques

CIU National President Visits Winnipeg and Emerson

Image stating "the national president visits Winnipeg & Emerson"

CIU National President Jean-Pierre Fortin met with union members in Winnipeg and Emerson, Manitoba, today, to answer questions and discuss the ongoing bargaining situation as well as important union matters. In total, the National President had the opportunity to update more than 50 members on the state of the bargaining process, with a focus on the importance of the stage we have reached in our negotiations with CBSA and Treasury Board. Jean-Pierre Fortin will also be meeting with members of other Branches in the coming days.

Pictured below: The National President meeting with members in Winnipeg.

National President meeting with members in Winnipeg National President meeting with members in Winnipeg

Essential Services Agreement Update

FB Bargaining

With the possibility of a strike vote on the horizon, the Essential Services Agreement (ESA) requires some clarification. This is new territory for both the union and the members, with a first ESA in place since fall 2017 only. We are hoping that this information will help address questions you may have, and give a better idea of what is in store should a strike vote result in a strike being called.

As a starting point, please review the PSAC’s list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on essential services as ot addresses several important questions. Some of the information below reflects the FAQ.

Unlike essential designations that applied to a whole position, the ESA identifies services/duties that are necessary for the safety and security of the public. It is therefore possible to be in a position where none of your duties or where only some of your duties are deemed essential.

Again, it is important to note the association to the safety and security of the public. As an example, the PSLRB decision Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Treasury Board, 2009 PSLRB 155 clarifies which services performed by Border Services Officers are considered necessary for the safety of the public, and therefore essential. These are:

  • Conducting inspections, examinations and verifications of travellers, goods and conveyances to reach release-or-entry decisions and deciding appropriate action when non-compliance is suspected or encountered.
  • Providing a first-response capability with powers to arrest or detain individuals suspected of having committed offences under various Acts of Parliament.
  • Maintaining effective relations, interactions and exchanges with clients, stakeholder organizations and law enforcement agencies to maintain border integrity and security.
  • Analyzing data and information for inclusion in databases for use in client service, risk management and targeting people or goods to maintain border integrity and security.
  • Completing briefing notes, technical reports, client files, statements and seizure reports to update databases to maintain border integrity and security.

Conversely, duties not deemed necessary for the safety of the public are not considered essential. Again, for BSOs, according to the 2009 PSLRB decision, these are:

  • Assessing and collecting duties, taxes, fees and fines.
  • Completing briefing notes, technical reports, client files and statements not related to maintaining border integrity and security.
  • Providing information, through sessions, technical workshops and outreach activities to travelers, importers and exporters to educate them concerning the legislation, regulations and procedures of the CBSA and other government departments/agencies to encourage voluntary compliance and to respond to enquiries, concerns and service complaints.

Note that the example above applies only to BSOs – essential and non-essential duties can and will vary depending on the specific position. In all cases, however, the standard is the same: Duties are considered essential if they are necessary for the safety and security of the public.
The employer will be issuing ESA notices by email to members performing duties deemed essential.

Table on FB positions performing tasks deemed essential

Please refer to the image above for an overview of the proportion of positions that perform tasks deemed essential for the safety and security of the public, for each job title. For example, more than 90% of Inland Enforcement Officer positions are considered to be performing duties essential to public safety. This means that the vast majority of Inland Enforcement Officers will receive an ESA notice.

Finally, in terms of strike activities, members performing essential tasks cannot participate in strike activities while on duty, but can participate while off-duty, on their own time. Furthermore, members asked to perform non-essential duties should challenge management on such direction and contact their Branch President. If members are ordered, they should follow the “work now, grieve later” rule. If this occurs, members should write down the date, time, manager’s name and the duties performed and provide this to a Union rep immediately. Similarly, if a supervisor asks members to perform the duties of an employee who is on strike, they should say no. If then ordered, they should work, then grieve.

More information will follow.

Members Rally on February 14 at PAC Highway Border Crossing

Picture of a demo in PAC Highway stating "We keep Canada's borders safe. We deserve to be treated fairly"

CIU/PSAC members rallied near the PAC Highway border crossing on February 14, calling on the government to show Border Services personnel some love, treat them as law enforcement, and give them a fair contract. These men and women have been without a contract for over three and a half years – they protect Canadians every day, and deserve fair treatment.


PA, TC, SV, and EB Groups: PSAC to Start Bargaining Process for 100,000 Federal Government Workers in March


PSAC members from coast-to-coast-to-coast who are covered under four of the collective agreements with Treasury Board will be gathering in Ottawa, March 26-29, 2018 to elect bargaining teams and discuss proposals for the upcoming round of bargaining.

“PSAC’s number one priority is getting the best deal for our members,” said PSAC National President Robyn Benson. “We have a democratic process for prioritizing the proposals we bring to the bargaining table. The bargaining conference is a critical step in ensuring our members have their say.”

Over 100,000 federal public service workers are covered under the PA, TC, SV, and EB collective agreements.

How Treasury Board bargaining works

The current collective agreements for the four groups will all expire within the next six months:

  • Program and Administrative Services (PA) group collective agreement expires on June 20, 2018
  • Technical Services (TC) group collective agreement expires on June 21, 2018
  • Education and Library Science (EB) group collective agreement expires on June 30, 2018
  • Operational Services (SV) group collective agreement expires on August 4, 2018

PSAC will begin negotiating new collective agreements for all four groups shortly after the March bargaining conference. The chart below briefly outlines the complete process.

Bargaining FlowchartA version of this article was first published on the PSAC website.

Members Rally in Thunder Bay

Picture of a demo in Thunder Bay stating "We keep Canada's borders safe. We deserve to be treated fairly"

Our Sisters and Brothers from Thunder Bay and Pigeon River, in Ontario, picketed the CBSA office in Thunder Bay on Monday February 12, putting pressure on the employer to treat FB members fairly – as law enforcement officers.

These men and women protect Canadians every day. CBSA praises its members as law enforcement when it suits them in the media, while failing to address the need for parity with other law enforcement agencies at the bargaining table. That has to change – FB members deserve real respect.

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