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PSAC-CIU members ratify new agreement with CBSA

CIU flag with the words "FB Agreement Ratified"

PSAC-CIU members in the Border Services (FB) bargaining unit have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the tentative agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The FB group represents over 8,500 CBSA employees who have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one, protecting our borders and keeping Canadians safe.

The new contract is a four-year agreement from 2018-2022 with a total increase in wages of over 8%. The deal includes better protections against excessive discipline in the workplace, a commitment to tackle workplace culture problems, and improvements to leave and other allowances. It also addresses the long-standing issue of meal period compensation for uniformed officers.

“This agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked around the clock to reach a deal,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “We also couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support and solidarity of our members.”

“Finally – after three years of negotiations – we’ve resolved longstanding issues that will go a long way towards making CBSA a better, safer place to work for our members,” said Mark Weber, CIU national president. “Every action our members took on, and leading up to, our August 6 day of action made this possible. We can all be proud of what we achieved together.”

Next Steps

In the coming weeks, PSAC will meet with Treasury Board and CBSA representatives to sign the new collective agreement. Apart from wage increases, which are retroactive, new contract terms come into effect on the date of signing.

CBSA has 180 days from the date of signing the new collective agreement to implement the new pay rates, provide retro pay for the time elapsed since the expiry of the previous agreement, and provide $500 to all FB members as a penalty for extended implementation timelines.

PSAC-CIU will update FB members when once the collective agreement is signed. Please keep your contact information up to date via the member portal to get the latest news. If you have any other questions, please contact your CIU branch president or your PSAC regional office.

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

FB group: Tentative agreement reached with CBSA/Treasury Board

After more than three years without a contract and unprecedented mobilization by FB members across Canada, the PSAC-CIU bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with Treasury Board and CBSA late Friday, August 6 following a 36-hour, round-the-clock, marathon negotiation session.

There are no concessions in the new tentative agreement. The improvements achieved are the product of the hard work and dedication of both the FB bargaining team and members throughout this round of bargaining.

A full explanation of the new agreement, and a copy of the new language, will be provided over the coming weeks once it has been fully translated. PSAC-CIU’s bargaining team unanimously recommends ratification of the new agreement. If ratified, the settlement will improve FB members’ working conditions in several important ways.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TENTATIVE AGREEMENT

Pay and Allowances

Wage settlement details

The total compensation for all FB group members amounts to a minimum compounded increase of 8.08% over the collective agreement’s four-year term. All wage increases are retroactive.

  • Effective June 21, 2018 – increase to rates of pay: 2.8%
  • Effective June 21, 2019 – increase to rates of pay: 2.2%
  • Effective June 21, 2020 – increase to rates of pay: 1.35%
  • Effective June 21, 2021 – increase to rates of pay: 1.5%

Uniformed member meal period allowance

After years of seeking parity with other uniformed law enforcement personnel, and three Public Interest Commission (PIC) recommendations, the team has finally achieved compensation for meal periods for uniformed members of our group.

A new, pensionable, annual meal period allowance of $5,000 will be paid to all uniformed CBSA employees. This means the agreement, including the allowance, provides for an overall pensionable increase over four years of:

  • 15.07% at the top rate FB-2
  • 14.14% at the top rate FB-3
  • 13.86% at the top rate FB-4
  • 13.38% at the top rate FB-5

Lump sum payout for non-uniformed members

  • All non-uniformed employees will receive a lump sum payment of $1,000.

Implementation payment

All members of the FB bargaining unit will receive a $500 lump sum payment for late implementation in the last round of negotiations.

There will be a six-month delay in the implementation of new allowances that will be compensated with a lump-sum payment of an equal value.

Pension (25-Out)

In conjunction with the settlement, Treasury Board provided a written commitment to PSAC to resubmit the FB group’s proposal to introduce legislative amendments providing enhanced early retirement benefits under the public service pension plan, and to facilitate an expedited opportunity to bring forward its related business case to the Public Service Pension Advisory Committee.

Discipline

CBSA has committed in writing that all employees have the right to union representation in PSI investigation meetings and provided new protections in the context of employees placed on investigatory suspension.

Grievance procedure

A streamlined grievance procedure, with a reduction in the grievance process from four levels to three levels, which will reduce the time taken to hear grievances.

Workplace culture

Letter of understanding between Treasury Board and PSAC creating a National Joint Committee to tackle workplace culture problems at CBSA.

Article 43 – Leave with pay for family-related responsibilities

Expansion of leave provision to include care of a person who stands in the place of a relative for the employee, regardless of blood-relationship between such person and the employee.

Article 46 – Bereavement leave with pay

Expansion of leave provision to include one-time bereavement leave for a person who stands in the place of a relative for the employee, regardless of the blood relationship between such person and the employee.

Article 53 – Domestic violence leave (NEW)

Up to 75 hours of annual leave for employees who are subject to domestic violence.

Appendix C – Workforce adjustment

Increase in education allowance from $15,000 to $17,000 for indeterminate employees who are laid off during the workforce adjustment process.

Article 30 – Designated paid holidays

Inclusion of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation per the legislated change.

Article 40 – Parental leave without pay

For parents covered by EI and the QPIP, the introduction of extended parental leave without pay for up to 86 weeks, with no impact on the five-year limit in Article 41.

Additional week under the EI Act

If both parents work in the public service and they have divided the full 40 weeks of parental leave, one of the two parents can receive an additional week.

Additional weeks under the QPIP

If both adoptive parents work in the public service and they have divided the full 37 weeks of adoption leave, one of the two parents can receive two additional weeks. If both biological parents work in the public service and they take all 32 weeks of parental leave, as well as the five weeks of paternity leave, one of the two parents can receive two additional weeks.

Change in the number of weeks of parental leave with allowance

New maximum of 57 weeks of parental leave per couple with a 93 per cent top-up. This will allow for the inclusion of five paternity weeks, under the QPIP, where both parents work in the public service and the inclusion of five or eight new weeks of parental leave under the Employment Insurance Act, where both parents work in the public service.

Under the EI Act – Parental allowance for extended leave

Parents covered by EI over the new extended leave period will be eligible for a supplementary allowance equivalent to 55.8 per cent of their weekly rate of pay.

Repayment formula

Addition of Schedule V of the Act, which allows mobility between the core administration and 26 other separate agencies, including the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Parks Canada and the National Research Council, without an obligation to repay allowances. This change gives more flexibility to parents who wish to change positions within the federal public service.

New Article 42 – Compassionate care and caregiving leave

New caregiving leave provisions include the three types of leave provided for under EI:

    • Compassionate Care Benefits
    • Family Caregiver Benefits for Children
    • Family Caregiver Benefits for Adults

The leave is for the same duration as stipulated in EI and includes the applicable waiting period. Leave granted under this clause shall count towards severance pay, vacation leave and pay increments.

This agreement was the product of great solidarity and perseverance  on the part of our FB members. We can all be proud of what we achieved together. The FB bargaining team unanimously recommends ratification of the tentative agreement.

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

CBSA employees secure deal with government hours after strike action at Canada’s borders

After an intense final round of negotiations that lasted more than 36 hours, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) reached a tentative agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) late Friday, August 6.

“We are relieved that CBSA and the government finally stepped up to address the most important issues for our members to avoid a prolonged labour dispute,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC national president. “The agreement is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our bargaining team who worked through the night to reach a deal.”

“We also couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support of our members, who put intense pressure on the government at every airport and border crossing across the country today.”

The agreement means an immediate end to work-to-rule strike action that had begun Friday, August 6 and ensures the flow of border traffic will return to normal as the government prepares to welcome fully vaccinated U.S. travellers on Monday, August 9.

“CBSA employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic since day one, protecting our borders and keeping Canadians safe. But they weren’t receiving the support they needed from the government,” said Mark Weber, CIU national president. “Finally – after three years of negotiations – we’ve resolved longstanding issues that will go a long way towards making CBSA a better, safer place to work for our members.”

Negotiations between PSAC-CIU and CBSA began in January 2019 but reached an impasse in December 2020. In May 2021, the union presented arguments at Public Interest Commission (PIC) hearings and a PIC report was issued in July with non-binding recommendations. Following national strike votes throughout June and July, PSAC-CIU announced an overwhelming strike mandate at the end of July and issued an official strike notice on August 3. Work-to-rule action began across the country August 6 at 6 a.m. EDT.

Highlights of the tentative agreement include: 

  • A four-year agreement from 2018-2021 with an average annual increase of over 2% per year;
  • Better protections against excessive discipline in the workplace;
  • The creation of a National Joint Committee to tackle workplace culture problems at CBSA;
  • A paid meal allowance for uniformed members, similar to what most Canadian law enforcement agencies provide;
  • A commitment letter to advance the work toward the introduction of early retirement benefits for CBSA employees;
  • A better grievance-handling process;
  • Domestic violence leave;
  • Other leave and allowance improvements.

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

PSAC threatens legal action over changes to inland enforcement work

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

PSAC has warned the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that the union may be pursuing legal action after the employer announced — in the middle of contract negotiations — that it intends to change its policy on international escorts for inland enforcement officers. The proposed changes, which would take effect on July 15, would force officers to take annual leave under certain circumstances.

PSAC has put the employer on notice that, if CBSA proceeds with these changes, the union will consult legal counsel about filing a complaint against CBSA with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board.

Labour law clearly states that all terms and conditions of employment are frozen during collective bargaining and until such time as a new agreement is reached, legal strike action is called, or an arbitration award is issued.

In contract talks with Treasury Board and CBSA, our FB bargaining team has repeatedly highlighted work done by inland enforcement officers. We have been clear that we are opposed to the contracting out of escort work done by our officers, and we have presented proposals concerning international escorts.

PSAC and CIU opposes CBSA’s attempt to push changes concerning inland enforcement officers while we discuss their working conditions at the bargaining table. We will continue to stand up for the rights of our members.

PSAC-CIU and our FB bargaining team will continue to update members on this issue and the ongoing strike votes taking place across the country. Please reach out your PSAC union representative or CIU branch president with any questions.

This article has also been posted on the PSAC website.

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