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How the 2023 PSAC strike affects Canadian immigration services


On April 19, 2023, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) began strike action on behalf of 155,000 public servants. The PSAC is the primary union for federal government workers, representing individuals across Canada. The union is currently negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement for its members and seeking fair wages, better working conditions, and more inclusive workplaces. Picket lines have been set up in more than 250 locations across Canada for the duration of this strike action.

What immigration services does the PSAC strike impact?

The strike is expected to impact 23 federal departments and agencies, including Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Service Canada, and consular services run through Global Affairs Canada.

Individuals and employers will still be able to file applications online, and the IRCC will continue to accept paper applications. Individuals seeking an extension to their documents will still be expected to file the appropriate application prior to their current documents expiring. Employers will also remain able to submit Offers of Employment online.

However, for the duration of the strike we do expect to see delays with respect to:

  • Processing both inside- and outside-Canada applications for temporary and permanent residence.
  • Scheduling or conducting in-person appointments, including citizenship ceremonies.
  • Domestic and consular passport services, with some specific exceptions for emergency and humanitarian situations.
  • Processing Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), including ones submitted under the Global Talent Stream. The processing of LMIA applications in the healthcare, agriculture, food processing, and trucking industries have been deemed essential and are expected to continue.
  • Processing new Job Bank registrations.
  • Processing requests under the Access to Information Act.
  • Biometrics collections.
  • Contacting IRCC and Service Canada through email, phone, social media, or WebForm.

Once the strike has ended, it may take additional time to process applications that were filed and added to the existing application backlog.

It’s expected that the Canada Border Services Agency will be able to maintain their service levels for travelers. However, they have not yet confirmed whether this will include retaining the capacity to allow individuals to flagpole.

How BDO can help

The Immigration team at BDO Law LLP will be following the development of the PSAC job action carefully. We appreciate that the delays caused by this strike action will impact the plans of temporary workers, international students, and Canadian employers alike. With the PSAC and federal government continuing to negotiate, we will provide further updates as they become available.

In the meantime, should you have any questions about the impacts of these events, please contact BDO Law LLP's Immigration Services team at [email protected].

The information in this publication is current as of April 21, 2023.

This publication has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The publication cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact BDO Canada LLP to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstances. BDO Canada LLP, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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