Monday, June 24, 2024

Ottawa finally moves ahead with mandatory truck driver vaccinations

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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The federal government said Thursday that mandatory vaccinations for truck drivers arriving in Canada from the United States will take effect Saturday as scheduled, hours after the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced that Canadian drivers would be exempted from this new measure.

In a statement on Thursday, Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, as well as the Ministers for Transport and Public Safety, said the statement issued by the Canada Border Services Agency on Wednesday night was “presented in error” and that Canadian truck drivers need to be vaccinated. If they want to avoid having to go into quarantine and submit a molecular test result when they arrive in the country from this weekend.

Ministers said unvaccinated US heavy truck drivers will be turned away at the border as the US prepares to impose similar restrictions on Canadian truck drivers on January 22.

Government officials gave no explanation for the incorrect information that was emailed to the media about 20 hours ago.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Association say as many as 26,000 of the 160,000 drivers who regularly make cross-border trips will be sidelined due to the vaccine requirements, which will add more bottlenecks and could drive up prices for freight transported, from food to medical devices.

Federal governors along with trade groups representing oil, manufacturing and export companies this week asked Ottawa to extend the January 15 deadline, which was announced in mid-November.

Concern among manufacturers

“The change of the federal government on trucking worries us, as this decision will inevitably weaken supply chains, which have already been severely disrupted by the pandemic,” said Véronique Proulx, CEO of Manufacturers et Exportateurs du Québec. Let’s be clear, we are very supportive of vaccinating Canadians. However, it must be admitted that up to 40% of the goods will not be able to cross the border overnight, without the government providing a contingency plan. The manufacturing sector is highly dependent on trade with the US and will be hit hard by government improvisation. “

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