Back at the end of November, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced that the Canada Border Services Agency has ordered the country’s border guards to wear name tags. After all, members of the Canadian Forces, the RCMP, and U.S. border guards all wear name tags. In that November 27 press release, the CBSA said this was a good idea because, ”We believe that this small step will allow the millions of clients we serve to feel more comfortable in their interactions with our officers. Personalized name tags reflect our commitment to service excellence and reinforce the professionalism and integrity for which CBSA officers are known.”
This initiative, colleague Mark Dunn reported, was going to cost Canadian taxpayers nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars.
The border guards, though, didn’t like this idea and a bunch of border guards refused to work, citing “health and safety concerns” associated with wearing the name tags. Because not enough guards showed up for work, the government then had to issue an advisory on Tuesday that two of the country’s busiest ports of entry, the Ambassador Bridge and the Blue Water Bridge, were suffering delays because of the border guard’s actions.
The Sarnia Observer’s Barbara Simpson reported:
Jason McMichael, first national vice-president of the Customs and Immigration Union… said the badge number system offered a level of protection to officers.
“They’re now giving impulsive bad guys an open door into our private lives by providing them with our names,” he said. “In these days of social media, it’s very easy to find out about a person once you have their name.” [Read all of Barbara's piece]
From that CBSA advisory on Tuesday: “While we are surprised by the extent of the reaction today, every case of a work refusal is treated seriously and immediate steps are taken to resolve the situation. The CBSA fully respects the rights of its more than 15,000 employees. “
Well, late Wednesday night, the CBSA just issued another press release, announcing the results of a Labour Canada ruling that, no, wearing name tags is neither a health nor safety issue and the border guards how tried to claim they did are now back on the job.