Letter of Concern – Canada Border Services Agency Strike

June 6th, 2024

Dear PSAC and Government of Canada,

Subject: Urgent Need to Avoid Potential CBSA Strike to Prevent Economic and Operational Disruptions

I am writing to you on behalf of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce to express our deep concern regarding the potential strike by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). We strongly urge both parties to reach a resolution and avoid the significant disruptions and economic costs that would arise from such an action.

The Greater Oshawa region, long a critical hub of Ontario’s industrial sector, stands to be severely impacted by a strike. The CBSA plays an essential role in maintaining the smooth flow of goods, services, and people across our borders. Any disruptions, particularly during the busy summer travel season, could lead to:

  • Economic Costs: Border delays and increased processing times will directly impact businesses that rely on timely cross-border trade. Just the Windsor-Detroit border alone is the busiest commercial land border crossing in North America, handling over 27% of all Canada-U.S. trade, amounting to more than $400 million in goods crossing daily. Disruptions can result in financial losses, increased operational costs, and potentially jeopardize contractual agreements and supply chains.
  • Operational Disruptions: The anticipated strike could cause significant delays and congestion at land crossings, airports, seaports, and rail entry points. Although essential workers are expected to continue their duties, the reduction in workforce and heightened security measures will undoubtedly slow down operations, affecting both commercial and passenger traffic. This will lead to increased wait times and potential bottlenecks, severely impacting industries dependent on just- in-time delivery systems.
  • Reputational Damage: Prolonged disruptions at the border can tarnish Canada’s reputation as a reliable trade partner. This may lead to long-term consequences, including reduced investor confidence. The auto industry in particular heavily relies on the seamless movement of parts across the Windsor-Detroit border. Any delays can disrupt manufacturing processes and lead to substantial economic losses.

Furthermore, while our member and significant local employer, General Motors, have no dependence on CBSA for paper processing, slower than usual border operations will pose the biggest risk to GM operations due to the “just in time” nature of much of their logistics chain.

The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce acknowledges the importance of fair and equitable labour agreements. However, we believe that the interests of the broader Canadian economy and the public must be a priority. We urge both PSAC and the federal government to engage in constructive dialogue, prioritize negotiation, and reach a resolution swiftly to avoid the strike.

We trust that both sides recognize the urgency and will work diligently to prevent the strike, ensuring the continued prosperity and stability of our border operations.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Jason King
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce

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Jason King

As the CEO of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, I blend entrepreneurship and B2B tech marketing expertise to bring you essential news and insights. Join me in navigating the business landscape as we work together to foster growth, collaboration, and build community prosperity in the heart of Oshawa.

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