Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding firm on a new vaccine mandate that has applied to border-crossing truck drivers since Jan. 15, stressing that similar U.S. rules are on their way.
“The U.S. is moving forward in coming days with an identical mandate to ensure truckers are vaccinated,” he said Wednesday during a media briefing. “We are aligned with them. We know how important it is to ensure the free flow of goods and services.”
The U.S. plans for a mandate at the border emerged in November, and various media outlets have since reported the rules are expected to be applied Jan. 22. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not responded to repeated requests from trucknews.com to confirm the date.
“Trucking companies, logistics companies, have known since November that this was coming,” Trudeau said, referring to the Canadian rules.
The prime minister acknowledged a “miscommunication” from a Canada Border Services Agency official that contradicted the plans. “It was quickly corrected,” he said.
The corrections came about 16 hours after the contradicting information emerged.
“Getting our supply chain operat[ing] and sustainable and as risk-free as possible is about protecting the industry – businesses and the workers,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos added, referring to the vaccine mandate as the right health and economic policy.
While Canadian truck drivers are currently allowed to cross into the U.S., they face quarantine and testing requirements on their return. The rules block U.S. truck drivers traveling to Canada.
More than 30 truck drivers protesting the rules slowed border crossings at Emerson, Manitoba, on Monday, and threats of other protests have circulated on social media. The Canadian Trucking Alliance has since issued a statement that it disapproves of protests on public roadways.
Trudeau did, however, acknowledge “significant disruptions” in global supply chains as one of the factors behind current inflation levels.
U.S. President Joe Biden stressed in a separate media briefing that goods are moving.
“We heard dire warnings about how these supply chain problems could create a real crisis around the holidays. So, we acted. We brought together business and labor, and that much-predicted crisis did not occur,” he said Jan. 19.
“I often see empty shelves being shown on television. Eighty-nine percent are full, which is only a few points below what it was before the pandemic.”