The third entry in our series celebrating our union milestones takes a look at a major turning point for border officers.
The arming of officers did not happen overnight. CIU (then CEUDA) had to lobby for years to convince the government that arming border officers was as important as providing protective vests and general safety equipment.
Pressure on the employer reached a peak in the early 2000s. The government’s position at the time was that border officers should let the police deal with dangerous situations, going so far as to compare the role of border officers to that of bank tellers. Ill-equipped to defend themselves and perform their duties, border officers were understandably frustrated.
Through work refusals, coast-to-coast consultations, and in-depth studies, the union wore out the employer’s objections and found support with the public. Finally, in 2006, the arming initiative became reality, with then 1st National VP Jean-Pierre Fortin (now National President) noting in 2007 that it represented “the largest cultural shift facing border services and [CIU] in our collective pasts.”
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