Compulsory vaccination for truck drivers | Ottawa contradicts the Border Services Agency and stays the course

The Trudeau government maintains the deadline for mandatory vaccination for truckers crossing the Canada-US border, contradicting the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which disseminated “information” that was “incorrect”.

In a joint statement released Thursday afternoon, the Ministers of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, Transport Omar Alghabra and the Minister of Public Security, Marco EL Mendicino, wanted to set the record straight.

Thus, as of Saturday, the drivers who are not completely inoculated or who will have received only one dose of vaccine will have to be placed in quarantine when returning to the country, like the Agency of the public health the. had announced.

“Let us be clear: this has not changed”, underline the three ministers.

This is a 180-degree turn compared to information released the day before by the Agency, which had confirmed, in an email to Press, that these requirements would not apply. This decision would have given the industry a slight reprieve, since requirements are due to go into effect in the United States as of January 22.

In favor of vaccination, the trucking industry and the business community asked Ottawa to come to an agreement in Washington and to wait a few more months before tightening the screws on heavy truck drivers who have not received two doses of the vaccine .

They fear a new logistical challenge that will increase the pressure on supply chains, already weakened since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Association du camionnage du Québec (ACQ), the vaccination rate in the industry – already affected by a labor shortage for several years – corresponds to the provincial portrait. In Quebec, 82% of the five-year-old population is fully vaccinated.

Industry estimates that there are 120,000 Canadian truckers making cross-border trips and that 10% of those would no longer be allowed to cross the border due to the new requirements. Ottawa instead figures this proportion at 5%, according to a government source who is not authorized to speak publicly.

This problem would have repercussions for both importers and exporters. According to the most recent data from the Quebec Ministry of Transport, approximately 70% of the value of trade between Quebec and markets in the northeastern United States is transported by truck.

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