Transport minister’s mandate includes vaccines, emissions, supply chain

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has a mandate in hand for the coming term of office – and it includes the call for Covid-19 vaccines in the transportation sector.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra (Photo: Government of Canada)

The details emerged in a mandate letter issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling on Alghabra to “continue to work with the federally regulated transportation sector to ensure that Covid-19 vaccination is prioritized for those workers.”

The federal government has announced plans to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for border-crossing truck drivers as of Jan. 15, and also to apply a mandate to a broader list of federally regulated road transportation workers. Those workers include truck drivers who cross provincial borders.

Road transportation has, to date, been exempted from federal vaccine mandates applied to workers in other transportation sectors.

Alghabra was also told to continue to work with the ministers of public safety and health on the safe, responsible and compassionate management of the border with the U.S. and other ports of entry.

“We must not only continue taking real climate action, we must also move faster and go further,” Trudeau added. “As minister, I expect you to seek opportunities within your portfolio to support our whole-of-government effort to reduce emissions, create clean jobs and address the climate-related challenges communities are already facing.”

Alghabra’s targets for reducing emissions include developing a strategy to “decarbonize emission-intensive on-road freight”.

He is also told to “work to reduce and prevent supply chain bottlenecks in Canada’s transportation networks through the National Trade Corridors Fund and legislative and regulatory authorities.”