Canada's really big strike

In what’ll be the single-most newsworthy strike since Shohei Ohtani’s final pitch at the World Baseball Classic, Canada’s federal workers are hitting the picket line. 

What happened: Over 150,000 federal public servants are on strike after the union representing them, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), and the federal government failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement last night. 

  • The strike includes ~35,000 CRA workers who were the first federal employees to vote in favour of striking earlier this month.
  • Federal employees have been working without a new labour agreement since their old one expired in October of 2021. 

Why it’s happening: Federal workers want big pay bumps to make up for the toll inflation has taken on their purchasing power.

  • PSAC has asked for a 13.5% wage increase over three years, while the federal government has reportedly been unwilling to offer more than a 9% raise over that timeframe.

Why it matters: The strike will disrupt 23 federal government departments and agencies, and make it more difficult to do normal, everyday citizen things like getting a passport, filing income taxes, crossing a border, or attending citizenship ceremonies. Basically, expect major delays when it comes to anything touching the federal government. 

  • Negotiations between the two sides are set to continue this week into next, with the government now highly motivated to get a deal done as quickly as possible. 

Zoom out: The extended bout of inflation we’ve lived through is driving labour unrest around the world as unions fight for big pay increases to offset price hikes, and Canada is no exception.