MONTREAL, Canada: Some 9,000 Canadian border guards and staff have ended a strike days before Canada allows fully vaccinated US visitors to enter for the first time in 16 months.
Talks between two unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), and the Canadian government broke down in December 2020, and the unions served a strike notice on July 27.
Both sides restarted talks after the strike notice was issued, but the unions stressed they were unable to reach an agreement, stating the action stipulates staff will “perform their duties to the letter of the law.”
“We truly hoped we would not be forced to take strike action, but we have exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract with the government,” said Chris Aylward, PSAC’s National President, in a statement.
Union demands included higher pay and permission for members to carry their guns in airports and other areas.
Officials said they reached a four-year agreement after 36 hours of talks overseen by a mediator.
The government and the union had been unable to reach agreement on working conditions and compensation for border staff members.
Canada will allow fully vaccinated U.S. visitors into the country starting Monday.
Unions previously said a strike would slow passenger and commercial traffic at the land border, and impact international mail and the collection of duties and taxes.