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Majority of Canadian Employees Back to Work Following Strike

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) has reached tentative agreements with Treasury Board of Canada for the PA, SV, TC and EB groups representing more than 120,000 federal public service workers, a May 1 news release said. The agreements put an immediate end to the nationwide general strike that began on April 19.

“PSAC members held the line together and secured a fair contract that keeps up with the cost of living, increased protections around remote work, and creates safer, more inclusive workplace,” Chris Aylward, PSAC national president, said in the release.

The new collective agreements provide wage increases of 12.6% in compounded wage increases over the term of the contract from June 2021 to June 2024. The release noted this closes the gap with inflation. An additional fourth year was added to the original proposal, and delivers a full inflationary increase for the final year of the contract, as well as a pensionable lump sum payment of CAD$2,500, it also addresses PSAC members’ key priorities on remote work, contracting out and seniority, the release said.

“During a period of record-high inflation and soaring corporate profits, workers were told to accept less, but our members came together and fought for better,” Aylward said. “This agreement delivers important gains for our members that will set the bar for all workers in Canada.”

In a news release from the Canadian federal government, noted that over the past month, both sides spent long hours at the bargaining table to find solutions and common ground.

“We are pleased to have reached tentative agreements with the Public Service Alliance of Canada for the Core Public Administration after many weeks of hard work, negotiation, and compromise. The best deals are reached at the bargaining table — we respect the right to negotiate and appreciate Canadians’ patience and understanding over the past two weeks,” Mona Fortier, president of the Treasury Board, said in the release.

Nearly a third of the entire Canadian federal public service workers were on strike with interruptions happening to supply chains and international trade at ports; slowdowns at the border with administrative staff on strike, amongst other interruptions happening, a previous news release said. Negotiations between PSAC and the Treasury Board of Canada began in June 2021, but reached impasse in May 2022. PSAC had asked for more options for remote work and better work-life balance as workers recover from the pandemic, inclusive workplaces, better job security and fair wages that keep up with rising inflation.

For Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) departments impacted included AgriInvest, AgriStability, Poultry and Egg On-Farm Investment Program, Wine Sector Support Program, Youth Employment and Skills Program, and federal programs under the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The Canadian Grain Commission noted on their website that due to the strike services, including official grain inspection, analytic testing services and export certification among others, were impacted.

PSAC members working for Treasury Board bargaining units returned to work as of May 1 at 9 a.m. ET. Strike action continues across the country for 35,000 members at Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the release noted. The PSAC/UTE bargaining team plans to enter into a blitz of negotiations with the CRA starting May 1 to reach a fair and reasonable agreement for its 35,000 members.