Government renews commitment to vaccine mandate as trucker protest heads for Ottawa

The Ministers of Transport, Labour, Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, and the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance have released a joint statement regarding the vaccine mandate for all entering Canada at border crossings which took effect January 15, 2022:

“The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on all Canadians. Within the trucking industry, the pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges. Despite these circumstances, truckers have delivered for Canadians. Vaccines, medications, personal protective equipment, food, and supplies continue to arrive where they need to be thanks to the efforts of our dedicated commercial truck drivers.

The vast majority of all consumer products and food are shipped by trucks. Furthermore, the trucking industry remains vital to Canada and injects billions of dollars into the economy. Since the outset of the pandemic, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Trucking Alliance have engaged regularly with one another and with other key partners to identify emerging issues and mitigate disruptions. This engagement has been critical to keeping trucks moving, while also keeping Canadians safe from COVID-19.

The Government of Canada and the Canadian Trucking Alliance both agree that vaccination, used in combination with preventative public health measures, is the most effective tool to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for Canadians, and to protect public health.”

The statement comes two days after the U.S. instituted its own vaccine requirement for all “foreign nationals” (any non-American) entering the country, including truckers, and two days before a trucking convoy protest is set to arrive in Ottawa.

The trucking convoy started in B.C. earlier this week. A Facebook page has listed start times for Ontario towns and cities for January 27, in order to organize a final push for the nation’s capital. A Go Fund Me page to support the protest reached over $4 million before the account was frozen by Go Fund Me, while the organization verified where the money would be going.

Prior to the January 15th deadline, reports of slower transit times and rising trucking costs were attributed to supply chain disruptions. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, interviewed here, at the time warned that rural areas and the agriculture industry would be hardest hit by a trucker shortage. It’s estimated the vaccine mandate will decrease truck driver availability by 20 to 30 per cent.

As of mid-day Tuesday, the convoy had passed Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

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Categories: COVID-19 / Logistics / News