Canada Treasury Board and union agree to end strike but revenue agency workers stay on picket lines as tax returns come due News
© JURIST / William Hibbitts
Canada Treasury Board and union agree to end strike but revenue agency workers stay on picket lines as tax returns come due

The Government of Canada’s Treasury Board and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) Monday announced that they have reached a tentative agreement for more than 120,000 public service workers to end their strike and return to work. However, around 35,000 employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are to remain on strike as Canadian income tax returns are due.

PSAC announced that Treasury Board employees will receive a cumulative 12.6 percent wage increase from 2021, when their last collective agreement expired. The union also said that members will be protected from outsourcing-related layoffs if they can perform the work of a contractor already employed by the federal government. In addition, Treasury Board employees will have the option to request remote work as individuals, and managers will be required to issue written decisions on those requests.

The Treasury Board is the Canadian Public Service’s principal employer and employs a wide variety of personnel such as administrators, engineers and firefighters.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier marked the end of the strike by saying:

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. We are deeply grateful for public servants who work hard across the country to serve Canadians and look forward to welcoming them back. These deals are fair, competitive, and reasonable, and bring stability to public servants and Canadians.

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh heralded the tentative agreement while giving support to the still-striking CRA workers by tweeting:

On May Day, sending thanks and solidarity to the @psac_afpc who stood strong and have achieved better wages and protections for workers as a result. There are still thousands of CRA workers on strike and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as they fight for fairness.

On Monday, PSAC’s Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) said that their members will remain on strike amid ongoing negotiations with the CRA. UTE issued the press release on Canada’s Tax Day, the day when the majority of Canadians are required to file their 2022 taxes.

According to the CRA, many tax services remain limited or unavailable during the strike. These include online services registration, penalties and interest relief request processing as well as phone inquiries. Income tax and benefit return processing are also being delayed as a result of the strike.

The public service strike commenced on April 19 and generated significant attention due to concerns over its impact on the accessibility of government services. Treasury Board and CRA workers had been working without a contract for nearly two years before the strike.