Our FB bargaining team met with the employer May 24-25 for the first bargaining session since the government introduced the 2023 federal budget and Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act. It was our first opportunity to oppose the changes outlined in Bill C-47 since we postponed negotiations in April in solidarity with striking Treasury Board and Canada Revenue Agency workers, and last met with the employer March 21-23.
The government is proposing changes in Bill C-47 that put our communities at risk by allowing individuals to enter Canada without speaking to a border services officer. This is reinforced by CBSA’s Traveller Modernization initiative. Our FB bargaining team voiced opposition to proposed changes that would implement self-checkouts at the border.
Self-checkout kiosks at Canada’s borders will make it easier for people intending to commit crimes — including dangerous offenders and individuals who would not be allowed to enter Canada for criminality (including war crimes), as well as individuals engaged in espionage or smuggling people, guns, and drugs — to enter the country, as we know they will not self-identify if given the chance to process their own entry.
PSAC-CIU taking employer before Labour Board
PSAC-CIU will take the employer before the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board for technological changes that have already been introduced by CBSA, including ArriveCAN and eGates.
During negotiations this week, our bargaining team called on Treasury Board and CBSA to halt the rollout of these changes — as well as the border services officer information sessions that management is carrying out related to “border modernization” — until the employer has properly consulted with PSAC-CIU. If they refuse to do so, we will consult our legal counsel about taking legal action against the employer. We will not sit idly by while the government eliminates officers from the front line and puts our communities at risk.
The team also spoke to our proposals concerning anti-racism training and asked CBSA to explain their decision to unilaterally halt the training PSAC-CIU and CBSA had agreed to with no explanation in March.
We return to the bargaining table next month and will continue to push the government and CBSA to act responsibly, work with our union, and do the right thing.
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This article was first posted on the PSAC website.