Canadian Border Guards Vote To Strike Ahead of Reopening To U.S. Tourists

There’s more trouble at the Canada-U.S. border.

Canadian border guards and customs officials have voted to go on strike just days before fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed into Canada for the first time in nearly 18 months.

A strike by border guards would slow commercial traffic at the land border and impact international mail and the collection of duties and taxes.

However, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said 90% of the frontline border service officers are considered "essential" and will have to continue working in the event of a strike.

Last week, Canada announced plans to allow fully vaccinated Americans back into Canada beginning on August 9, and fully vaccinated international travelers starting on September. 7.

The border has been shut for non-essential travel because of the pandemic.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) said in a joint statement that strike action could begin as soon as August 6 after their 8,500 members voted in favor of the action. Contract talks between the union and federal government broke down in December 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, tourism was the fifth-largest industry in Canada, contributing $105 billion to Gross Domestic Product and providing one in 10 jobs, according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.