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Updated: Trucks stuck at border as CBSA staff begin work action

About 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) workers started job actions across Canada on Friday as negotiations between the government and the unions continue.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents the workers alongside the Customs and Immigration Union, confirmed on Twitter that the work-to-rule actions have started.

Larry Hayward, an Ontario-based truck driver was stuck on the U.S. side of the Port Huron crossing for hours this morning. He said traffic was backed up on the interstate for seven or eight miles.

“Are they not stopping commerce,” he said in a call to Today’s Trucking. “They’re backing traffic up onto the Interstate, which can be deadly if someone has a rear-end collision.”

Hayward was returning from an expedited delivery in his pickup truck. He said other drivers told him customs officers were standing in front of trucks in Windsor once they were cleared so that they couldn’t leave.

When he called, Hayward was at the Duty Free store on the U.S. side of the border after spending two hours advancing about 50 feet at a time before sitting for extended periods. He said frustration among professional drivers was mounting.

“I talked to a couple of drivers. One guy said he’s going to have to park here because he’s just about out of hours. He’s been here for six hours.”

Meanwhile, Hayward was preparing to get back behind the wheel for the final 1,000-ft. journey to the customs booths, which he predicted would take another couple hours.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said in a statement that the association and its membership have a productive and cooperative working relationship with CBSA management and its front-line officers and operations teams at our borders. 

CTA hopes that both parties can resolve this matter as soon as possible to ensure our member fleets and the industry at-large can continue to service their customers across North America and that lives of professional truck drivers, who are the backbone of the Canadian economy, are not disrupted.

The border will be open and remain so even if job action occurs. The types of job actions and work disruptions are expected to lead to border delays for all travelers, including commercial truck drivers returning to Canada.   

CBSA officials have stated they will be doing their best to keep the border functioning during the labor disruption.

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