Tag Archives: négos

FB bargaining: Talks break off with Treasury Board/CBSA

Photo of BSO with the words "Bargaining: FB Group"

The FB bargaining team has declared impasse in negotiations with Treasury Board and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) after the employer failed to make substantial progress towards addressing critical issues in negotiations for nearly 9,000 FB members.

The team has put forward reasonable proposals on key matters impacting FB members, but the employer has refused to address them in a meaningful way and is seeking serious and unacceptable concessions, forcing the team to break off negotiations.

Consistent with federal legislation, PSAC-CIU has filed for a Public Interest Commission (PIC) to provide recommendations on the next steps to reach a settlement. The FB bargaining team and union leaders will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss next steps beyond filing for a PIC.

What happens when impasse is declared?

Serving Canadians

Every day, FB members put their lives on the line to protect Canadians; safeguarding our borders, inspecting dangerous goods and screening travellers for COVID-19 from coast to coast. Many FB members have contracted COVID-19 while performing their duties.

FB members have been without a contract for more than two years at a time when Canadians are relying on them more than ever to keep them safe. They deserve much better.

Despite their essential contributions, the federal government and CBSA still refuse to offer a fair contract that recognizes the value of their work and that brings them in line with law enforcement agencies across Canada.

Key issues at the table:

  • Compensation: Ensure that FB members’ rights and compensation are brought fully in line with law enforcement agencies across Canada. Management has rejected this proposal. This is unacceptable, as it fails to address our wage disparity with the broader law enforcement community. Other federal public safety officers represented by PSAC – fisheries officers, park wardens and parole officers – all received better compensation packages than the framework that has been tabled for the FB group. CBSA also continues to insist on a practice where FB-2s are effectively used as a cheap labour force.
  • Retirement reform: Commit to supporting early retirement to members of the FB bargaining unit after they’ve served for 25 years, similar to other federal law enforcement agencies. Treasury Board and CBSA have refused to address this issue.
  • Workplace flexibility: Provide fair access to telework and leave with income averaging, particularly for non-uniform members. CBSA does not follow Treasury Board policy on these issues. Language is needed in the collective agreement to address these issues, as clearly CBSA cannot be trusted.
  • New protections: Provide better protections from CBSA management in the context of discipline (PSI and SRI), surveillance, abuse of authority, whistleblowing, use of students and the reimbursement for medical certificates. Management is refusing to address these concerns.
  • Hours of work: A paid meal period in line with other law enforcement agencies, as well as better rights for shift-working members such as enhanced seniority rights and paid firearm practice time. CBSA and Treasury Board have done nothing to address these issues.

No concessions

Management is seeking serious concessions, including the watering down of Variable Shift Schedule Arrangement (VSSA) protections, the introduction of national VSSAs, shorter shift-change notice and making care and nurturing leave subject to operational requirements and a minimum of 12 weeks of leave. These concessions are unacceptable.

Take action to support FB members in bargaining – Click here to send a letter!

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.

Letter from the PSAC National President to the President of the Treasury Board regarding the FB bargaining unit

Photo of CIU flag

PSAC National President Chris Aylward sent the following letter to the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board, on October 26, 2020.


Dear Minister,

I am reaching out to you to provide you with information related to an equitable retirement regime for members of the FB bargaining unit (Canada Border Services Agency employees). As you may know, PSAC has been advocating for such an equitable retirement regime for FB members for many years. We are seeking an arrangement for these members that is consistent with other law enforcement officers in the federal public service, including RCMP members and Correctional Officers.

Employees in the FB bargaining unit carry out a vast range of duties associated with the enforcement of the law, including collaboration with other law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies in joint operations. Despite the ongoing pandemic, these members continue to proudly work and deliver on behalf of Canadians.

Border Services Officers (BSOs) represent most of the workers in the bargaining unit. These employees work at airports, land border and marine ports of entry, and at Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) postal operations.

BSOs have the power to seize and arrest and are required to undergo regular Control and Defence Tactics (CDT) training as a condition of employment. Since 2006, BSOs working in land border and marine environments are equipped with firearms. This arming initiative has also come to include Inland Enforcement Officers, Intelligence Officers and Investigators, all three groups also being required to undergo regular CDT training.

The nature of the work performed by members of the bargaining unit, and the fitness standards that are required for employees to perform their duties, are entirely consistent with what is found with other law enforcement agencies, be they federal such as the RCMP and Corrections, or in other jurisdictions such as the Ontario Provincial Police and the Sureté du Québec. It is because of the work and the fitness standards associated with the work that these other law enforcement agencies have adopted early retirement regimes. Simply put, it is increasingly difficult for officers as they advance in age to meet the standards required. Employers are required under Human Rights Legislation to accommodate up until undue hardship. Early retirement regimes alleviate this burden on employers and staff. The same is true in the case of CBSA.

Given the nature of the work performed by employees in the FB bargaining unit and the crucial importance of that work in terms of ensuring the safety and security of Canadians, it is in the interest of both the federal government and the broader Canadian public that employees in this occupational group have access to an early retirement regime to avoid risks to public health and safety.

It is only fair that workers in the FB bargaining unit are afforded benefits that are comparable to that of other law enforcement officers. Other federal public service workers facing similar workplace demands, such as Correctional Officers, already have this type of retirement regime.

As such we have been advocating for CBSA members to be able to access retirement without penalty 5 years earlier than existing Group 1 members of the Public Service Pension Plan, consistent with operational service provisions for employees of Correctional Services Canada.

In order to achieve equitable retirement for FB members specifically, changes are required to the Public Service Superannuation Act and its regulations.

FB members have been advocating for an equitable retirement regime for many years. The issue is before a sub-committee of the Public Service Pension Advisory Committee. We are urging you to support the work of PSPAC and to support legislative changes to allow for CBSA employees to access the same early retirement provisions that are available to many law enforcement officers across the country.

Further, we would welcome the chance to meet with you via videoconference to discuss this important matter at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Chris Aylward
PSAC National President

Click here for the PDF version.

The FB bargaining team needs your support!

Photo of CBSA officer with orange epaulettes

The FB bargaining team is back at the bargaining table this week!

As a show of support for our team, we are asking all our members to proudly wear or display their union swag (epaulets, laces, wristband, mug, etc.) and to keep them displayed until the union reaches a tentative agreement.

We also invite our members to send photos of them wearing or displaying their union swag at comms@ciu-sdi.ca.

Note: By sending in their photos, members agree that CIU may publish these photos online, including its website and social media pages. Those who wear a name tag should remove or hide it before taking a picture.

FB Bargaining: PSAC-CIU protects bargaining unit work

Photo of CIU flag

Buckling under legal pressure from PSAC-CIU, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has stopped contracting out the work of trained border services officers to students at ports of entry in Toronto.

In July, CBSA management in Toronto implemented new shifts staffed exclusively by students after PSAC-CIU members refused to enter into talks on a temporary variable shift schedule arrangement (VSSA) due to concerns that management would abuse the agreement.

As a result, PSAC took legal action and filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board against the CBSA and Treasury Board.

Staffing our ports of entry with trained CBSA border services officers is the only way to ensure the safety of Canadians and our borders.

In light of the legal action taken by PSAC-CIU, CBSA in Toronto has reversed the changes made in July. PSAC will therefore be withdrawing its complaint.

Our bargaining team has made proposals in national negotiations concerning protections against unilateral changes to scheduling and to protect our bargaining unit work. To be clear, PSAC-CIU is not opposed to students receiving training and work experience opportunities. But our proposals would protect against students being used as cheap labour by CBSA. Students should never replace trained officers at CBSA ports of entry.

The legislation states that all matters subject to negotiation are frozen until such time as the parties reach a new agreement. This means that our current terms and conditions are frozen, unless the union consents to changes CBSA wants to make. We were not consulted on the changes made. We are opposed to BSOs being replaced by students. We do not agree with CBSA’s scheduling changes.

Other legal challenges against CBSA

Our legal challenges over CBSA’s contracting out the work of Border Services Officers to Commissionaires at Pearson International Airport and changes made to shifts at Postal Operations in Vancouver are ongoing. We are also in mediation on complaints related to leave with income averaging and compressed schedules. Our dispute concerning CBSA’s name tag policy is still ongoing.

We will continue to pursue legal action against CBSA until such time as the employer complies with its legal and contractual obligations.

To review the package of bargaining proposals that we tabled as well as those of the employer, visit the PSAC page for the FB page group. We’ll announce new bargaining dates when they’re available and continue to provide updates throughout the bargaining process.

The original version of this article was first posted on the PSAC website.