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Could there be a strike at CRA during tax season?

After more than a year without a contract for its members at the Canada Revenue Agency, the Public Service Alliance of Canada is ready to ask its members for a mandate to go on strike.

It could mean while Canadians are busy filing their tax returns, more than 35,000 unionized workers at the agency tasked with processing those forms could be off the job.

The union plans to hold a series of strike votes between January 31 and April 7, and the deadline for Canadians to file their taxes is April 30.

PSAC declared talks at an impasse in September, and the two sides met with a mediator last month, only for negotiations to grind to a halt over wages and remote work.

“Workers’ wages have stalled while the cost of living has continued to rise, and everyone is feeling the strain,” said PSAC national president Chris Aylward. “We’ve been clear negotiating wages that keep up with inflation and a sensible remote work policy are critical to reaching a deal, but the Agency has refused to respond to our wage officer and still has major concessions on the table.”

Later this month, union and CRA officials will participate in Public Interest Commission hearings with the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board. Their recommendations could lead to an agreement this spring. However, once they finish their report, PSAC will be in a legal strike position should members vote yes.

“Canada Revenue Agency has shown a complete lack of respect for workers at the bargaining table, and a strong strike mandate is the best way to ramp up the pressure to reach a fair contract,” said Mark Briere, the president of the Union of Tax Employees.

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