Border Officers Use Black Friday to Highlight Government Cuts

TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - As many Canadian shoppers travel south of the border to take advantage of "Black Friday" deals on November 23, they should also expect traffic congestion to be exceptionally high and longer wait times.  These longer wait times are a direct result of staffing cuts at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

To let Canadians know how they are being affected by these cuts, border services personnel will be speaking out on Black Friday.

The Conservative government this year alone has cut $143 million from the CBSA budget. This has led to the elimination of 625 plain clothes personnel, 100 intelligence officers and 300 uniformed border service positions.

"Border Services personnel apprehend dangerous criminals and help to stop the entry of drugs and weapons into our country. Despite this vital service, the Conservative government has slashed CBSA's budget and placed Canadians and border service personnel in jeopardy," said Sharon DeSousa, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for Ontario.

"Our members work to keep our borders safe and moving efficiently. On the front-lines, they bear the brunt of travelers' frustration and anger over delays," she continued.  "When you cut public sector workers, the level of service is cut along with them," she added.

Staffing levels and a heavy workload are some of the main issues for members of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents CBSA workers. These issues are affecting the quality of service at our borders, ultimately making them less safe.

"Everyday these men and women risk their lives for our security and their concerns are being ignored," states Jason McMichael, CIU National Vice-President for Ontario. "Given the importance of this service, the government needs to address these concerns immediately."

SOURCE: Public Service Alliance of Canada

For further information:

Jason McMichael, CIU National Vice-President, Cell - 519-312-2007
Lino Vieira, PSAC Communications Officer, Cell - 416-577-0238