Canada’s cross-border truck drivers to face vaccine mandate … again

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Canada’s on and off vaccine mandate for its cross-border truck drivers appears to be on once again – meaning new restrictions for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated truck drivers as of Jan. 15.

Reversing positions twice in 24 hours, the federal government says it will once again require Canada’s returning truck driver to quarantine and be tested after traveling to the U.S. after Jan. 15.

(Photo: istock)

Wednesday evening, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reported that it was preparing to turn unvaccinated or partially vaccinated U.S. truck drivers away from the border. But it seemed to ease the added restrictions for Canadian drivers, just hours after meeting with trucking industry representatives to reinforce the mandate.

Late Thursday afternoon, the federal government reverted to its initial position.

“Last night there was an error made,” Liberal MP Francesco Sorbara said on CTV’s Power Play. “The position stands. As of Saturday, Jan. 15 … truckers crossing into Canada will need to be fully vaccinated. If they’re not fully vaccinated and they’re Canadian nationals, they’ll obviously have to go under the quarantine requirements.”

Federal officials were scheduled to meet with trucking industry representatives late on Thursday to clarify the position.

The U.S. is widely expected to begin enforcing a similar vaccine mandate on Jan. 22.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance had estimated that as many as 12,000 to 16,000 of the 120,000 Canadian truck drivers who cross the border in their jobs could be lost based on current vaccination rates, adding to supply chain challenges.

Canadian truck drivers have been exempted from quarantine and testing requirements at the international border in their roles as essential workers throughout the pandemic.