Essential aviation services likely to be impacted by PSAC strike

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | April 18, 2023

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 57 seconds.

For nearly two years, members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) — the largest federal union representing federal public service workers — have been pressing the government for “fair wages and decent working conditions,” without reaching a deal. On April 18, PSAC president Chris Aylward announced that more than 155,000 PSAC members will begin strike action on April 19, as a deal was not reached by the deadline.

Of the 155,000 PSAC members, 35,000 are with the Canada Revenue Agency and 120,000 are Treasury Board members. The strike action follows Canada-wide strike votes that took place from Feb. 22 to April 11.

A PSAC strike would impact services to Canadians in several sectors, including aviation. Eric Dumigan Photo

This strike will mark one of the largest in Canada’s history, and will affect services such as employment insurance, immigration and passport applications, and supply chains and international trade — to name a few. Moreover, members of the aviation industry are likely to see an impact.

The Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) warned its members on April 12 that “a strike would impact most services provided by Transport Canada and other departments that CBAA members seek services from, such as issue of various certificates and licenses and other operational activities critical to industry operations,” the association wrote in a LinkedIn post.

CBAA president Anthony Norejko told Skies on April 13 that the association was ultimately hoping a deal would be reached before the deadline.

“In the end, the problem is this: we don’t really know exactly the impact,” shared Norejko. “In terms of essential services, some of what Transport Canada is doing will probably fall outside of that. But if you’re waiting for licensing, things like an aviation medical, or approvals, I think that’ll kind of go into a holding pattern — and that’s the concern.”

As of 12:01 a.m. April 19, strike action has begun. PSAC said picket lines are to be set up in more than 250 locations across Canada, which can be found using the union’s picket line finder tool. 

PSAC’s Aylward noted that the union’s members “know that a strike will be difficult for them and for the Canadians who depend on the services they provide. But they’re exercising their bargaining power because they just can’t wait any longer. Their bills can’t wait. Their families can’t wait. None of us can,” he said.

“The cost of living has hit highs we haven’t seen in 40 years, and people are struggling. . . . As we begin this historic strike, PSAC bargaining teams will remain at the table night and day as they have been for weeks,” he added. “We’re ready to reach a fair deal as soon as the government is ready to come to the table with a fair offer.” 

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