Border Agents Union Reach Tentative Contract

Border agents at the Thousand Islands Bridge could be getting recognition as law enforcement officials.

The Customs and Immigration Union, which represents border agents at US crossings throughout Canada, says it has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Treasury Board and the border agency.

Union President Jean Pierre Fortin says the fact that they haven't been seen alongside other law enforcement officers has been the biggest sticking point.

"It was that recognition," says Fortin. "Our officers at CBSA are the second biggest law enforcement organization Canada-wide. First one being RCMP and we are the second one with 6,500 front-line officers wearing a weapon."

Border agents have been without a deal for four years.

Fortin says it will take about 9 weeks before anything is official.

"Now our members need to vote on the tentative agreement," says Fortin. "So there will be meetings organized Canada-wide where they will be able to come and we will have people from the barganing table come and explaining the contract and then they will have to vote on it."

Fortin says the agreement also calls for wage increases each year and improvements to pensions.