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Canada Border Services Agency work slowdown creates crossing delays

WSDOT traffic cam viewing a backup leading toward the US-Canada border crossing at Sumas (August 6, 2021).

BLAINE/SUMAS, Wash. — Roads leading to the US-Canada border crossings in Whatcom County began experiencing extended traffic backups today, August 6th. It is being reported that nearly 9,000 Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) personnel began a work-to-rule strike today across the entire border.

About 11:20am, Sumas Police reported via twitter, “approximately 30-40 vehicles backed up on Sumas Ave, Garfield St, Cherry St and W. Garfield St.”

About 11:30am, Blaine Police reported via twitter, “SR 543 (northbound) is backed up from the border to the I-5 fwy off ramp (MP 275). The right lane of I-5 is also blocked in the area.”

Both agencies advised patience and using alternate routes when possible noting the situation was not expected to get better anytime soon.

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The Peach Arch and Lynden border crossings are closed to all but essential non-commercial traffic and as a result are not being impacted like the more busy truck crossing on SR543 and the Sumas border crossing on SR9.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) said over 8,500 unionized CBSA employees approved striking back in July and the union said at that time they could potentially begin strike action today, August 6th. The union members have been without a contract for over three years.

Fully-vaccinated Americans are expected to be able to go to Canada for non-essential visits beginning this Monday, August 9th.

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