(OTTAWA) The Canadian government and the largest federal public service union are both warning that there will be likely service disruptions, as nearly a third of all federal employees went on strike for a second straight day, THURSDAY.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) member walkout could lead to a complete halt to ‘tax season’, border delays and pauses in new applications for Employment Insurance, immigration and passport.

Federal government workers went on a legal indefinite strike at midnight on Wednesday, picketing more than 250 offices across the country in one of the largest strikes in Canadian history.

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier said noon Thursday that government negotiators were back at the table Thursday to reach “a deal that’s fair for employees and reasonable for taxpayers, as quickly as possible.”

These negotiations involve some 155,000 federal public servants, including 35,000 employees of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), but also about 46,000 so-called “essential” workers who are not on strike.

The Treasury Board says the majority of full-time federal workers in four bargaining units, which represent 120,000 employees, earn between $50,000 and $75,000, while about 3% earn less than $50,000.

The union is calling for an overall increase of 13.5% over the next three years, saying the increases are necessary to keep pace with inflation and the cost of living.

Treasury Board and CRA say they offered the union a 9% raise over three years, on the recommendation of the Public Interest Commission (1.5% for 2021, 4.5% for 2022 and 3% for 2023).

On the second day of this strike, hundreds of workers converged Thursday morning on the picket line on Parliament Hill, armed with signs, megaphones and their dogs.

Public servant Paul Jones explained that federal employees don’t strike for fun: “We want to get back to work, we’re hurting and I hope they come back to the table with a real offer.”

Mr. Jones admits that civil servants earn more than minimum wage, but he argues that they do not earn enough to support their expenses during a period of high inflation.

PSAC National President Chris Aylward told reporters on Wednesday that members were prepared to strike “as long as it takes.”

“Workers are fed up, workers are frustrated, and workers are saying, ‘Enough is enough!’ We’re tired of these ridiculous offers. »