Concerns of supply chain disruptions mount as the cross-border vaccine mandate for truck drivers — set to take effect January 15 — approaches.
The federal mandate – set forth by federal Liberal government – will force truckers crossing the border into Canada to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival.
The vast majority of truck drivers travel alone.
The US federal government will implement a similar mandate on January 22.
Truckers were previously deemed “essential,” however the federal government is ready to green-light the loss of 12,000-16,000 (10-15%) cross-border commercial drivers, as anticipated by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) if the mandate takes effect.
“CTA and our member companies have worked closely with the Government of Canada throughout the COVID pandemic to prevent the spread of the disease throughout the supply chain and this cooperative relationship has helped make the industry safer,” said CTA president, Stephen Laskowski.
While Laskowski maintains the position that COVID-19 vaccines are “unquestionable,” thousands of federally regulated drivers beg to differ and will exit the supply chain as a result. Many have already resigned — influencing the alliance’s president to not force his conviction onto the drivers.
“CTA strongly believes the health benefits of vaccines are unquestionable, but that does not change the fact any substantial reduction of commercial drivers, when there’s already an acute shortage, would further disrupt a very fragile supply chain and the economy,” said Laskowski.
The organization has called upon the Canadian government to “maintain the position it agreed upon in the summer of 2021 of exempting the trucking industry as an essential service due to the potential consequences of the economy,” adding — at a minimum — commercial truck drivers, mechanics, and those working outside must be exempt.
Of the $650 billion in goods traded annually between the US and Canada, more than two-thirds are transported on roads, mostly by truckers.
“What we see now is that our health care system in Canada is fragile, our people are tired, and the only way we know to get through COVID-19, this variant and any future variant, is through vaccination,” Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos said Friday.
Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard