The passenger lanes at the Peace Bridge and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge remained relatively clear throughout Friday, but that was largely because there was so little passenger traffic. That could change at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, when the border opens to non-essential travel for the first time since March 21, 2020.
Commercial traffic has long been viewed as essential, which means truck trips across border bridges only declined slightly during the pandemic. And on Friday, as Canadian border officials practiced a “work to rule” labor action that slowed down the customs process, truck traffic at border bridges was crushing.
“There is a safety issue when backing up trucks on the 190,” Bieger said. “You know, you don’t want somebody to show up at 100 miles an hour and all of these trucks suddenly stopped.”
Safeguards have taken place on bridges all along the US-Canada border, Rienas added.
Canadian unions, which represent customs officers at the Canada Border Services Agency, or CBSA, have focused not on security concerns, but on their multi-year contract dispute with the Canadian government.
“This is an opportunity for us to significantly disrupt CBSA operations and force the government to come back to the table to tackle the toxic workplace culture at the CBSA and ensure parity with other members law enforcement personnel across Canada, ”the Customs and Immigration Union said on its website.