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 PSAC’s FB page or the Customs and Immigration Union’s website. We’ll announce new bargaining dates when they’re available and continue to provide updates throughout the bargaining process.