Canada Revenue Agency, union reach deal to end strike

A second strike of federal public servants is over after a tentative deal was reached between the Canada Revenue Agency and more than 35,000 Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members.

In separate Thursday morning news releases, the agency and PSAC’s Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) said the four-year deal sends workers back to their jobs by 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

UTE workers, like about 120,000 other PSAC workers across about 30 government departments and agencies, went on strike April 19. They had all been without a deal since 2021.

“Finally, we can say that we got a decent contract for our members, and they deserve it,” Marc Brière, national UTE president, told CBC News.

Like the tentative deal announced Monday for the larger group, the headlines of the CRA deal are a compounded wage increase of 12.6 per cent over four years, according to the union, and a one-time pensionable payment of $2,500.

UTE had been asking for a series of pay bumps worth more than 30 per cent of current wages, which it later changed to a 22.5 per cent raise over three years.

Similar remote work agreement

Both sides wrote Thursday that the tentative agreement addresses the union’s key priorities, listed by the union as remote work, contracted work, working hours and seniority.

The section about remote work in CRA’s news release Thursday is nearly identical to Monday’s, in which the two sides agreed to a joint review of the directive on telework and to create departmental panels to advise deputy heads about employee concerns.

One difference in the union’s Thursday announcement about the CRA deal is that remote work requests would be assessed individually and will be subject to grievances.

That language was not included in Monday’s announcement about its other deal, and Treasury Board president Mona Fortier told reporters later Monday that the letter of intent on telework does not give employees the right to grieve those decisions; instead, it gives employees and managers a space to discuss any issues.

Also, that workers should be able to start as early as 6 a.m. if it’s reasonable for their job, that workers move up to four weeks vacation after seven years of service instead of eight, and that Indigenous employees get paid leave for traditional practices.

The deal lasts until October 2025, PSAC said, and needs to be ratified.

A group of people on a sidewalk holding signs.
Canada Revenue Agency workers in Ottawa on a picket line at the Canada Post building on Heron Road early Monday morning. (Mateo Garcie-Tremblay/Radio-Canada)

Despite the strike, CRA said the tax filing deadline had not changed, meaning returns should have been filed and any balance owed should have been paid by May 1. 

CBC asked CRA early Tuesday afternoon about any service backlog and how long it would take to climb out of it once the strike ends. The agency had not responded by late Wednesday afternoon.

The CRA said while announcing the tentative deal that it “has already taken measures to resume its normal operations and to fully restore services that were affected.”