Canada’s border agents reached a new tentative agreement with the federal government late Friday after a daylong work-to-rule campaign left long lines of semi-trailers and passenger vehicles idling for hours at some of the country’s busiest international gateways.

The deal — announced late Friday after more than 36 straight hours of mediated talks — came with just days to spare before U.S. citizens and permanent residents are expected to begin queuing up for their first chance to get into Canada since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Guards who work for the Canada Border Services Agency were part of the work-to-rule job action that began early Friday amid contract talks between the federal government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Customs and Immigration Union.  Members of the union, which represents some 9,000 CBSA employees, spent the day following procedures to the letter after a negotiation deadline was set for 6 a.m. ET Friday.

Long lines of semi-trailer trucks snaked away from border points as the work-to-rule campaign slowed traffic to a crawl, particularly for commercial shippers, while marathon negotiations that began Thursday stretched through night and day.

Reported commercial wait times for truckers at the Pacific Bridge in Surrey, B.C., reached more than five hours as the afternoon wore on, while regular travellers looking to get into Saskatchewan faced similarly long delays at the North Dakota entry point in the town of Portal.

At the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont., trucks were being held up for more than three hours, much as they were at the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ont., and the city of Buffalo, N.Y. At Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, both trucks and passenger vehicles faced similar delays.

About 90 per cent of front-line border workers are classified as essential employees, a designation that prevents them from walking off the job.

This is an excerpt from the CBC article