Ontario border blockade delays truckers for hours

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Truck drivers queued up for hours on Wednesday while trying to get into Canada via the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ont. after protesters blocked the main Ambassador Bridge border crossing in Windsor, Ont.

The Canada Border Services Agency website showed four-and-half hour delays at Sarnia crossing into Canada while the Ambassador Bridge was shut both ways.

Bluewater Bridge
Truckers took hours to cross into Canada at the Bluewater Bridge in Sarnia, Ont. (Photo: iStock)

Protesters have been restricting traffic at border crossings in Ontario and Alberta and are aligned with a standoff in Ottawa, calling for an end to a vaccine mandate that applies to cross-border truck drivers, along with an array of other demands largely linked to public health restrictions.

Ishnet Singh, an owner-operator from Montreal, Que., who runs in a team with his son, was stuck for more than eight hours on the U.S. side at the Sarnia crossing.

Nine-hour crawl

He pulled up behind trucks that were lined up for many kilometers at the border at about 6 a.m. Wednesday. The crawl to the border took hours and he crossed around 3 p.m. He could not take a break in the stop-and-go traffic and was not able to use a washroom.

“I understand the protesters want to protest about their freedom, but why bother us. Why are you making it hard for us to work? We are fully vaccinated; we are trying to take care of our families. I could have been with my family right now,” he said.

Singh said his son could not sleep properly and would still have to take over the driving as he has run out of hours on his clock.

The team has had to reschedule their outgoing trip due to the delay. “We also are unsure how long it will take for us to head back into the U.S. on our next trip. My friend waited in line for six hours yesterday,” Singh said. “Essentially we have lost a shift where we drive about 600 miles.”

Running out of hours

Singh said the effect of a delay is bad for a team, but worse for single drivers. He said single drivers who were stuck along with him will have find a place as soon as they cross the border as their hours run out. “And there aren’t places close to the border to park a big rig. So many guys were stuck, where are they going to sleep?” he asked.

The blockade in Windsor has entered the third day and truckers hauling goods across the border were caught unawares on Monday.

An owner-operator who did not want to be identified said he spent nine hours – from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the Ambassador Bridge on Monday. He said the vibrations of multiple commercial big rigs on the span were unnerving after being parked for hours.

After he finally entered Canada, he was almost out of hours. “Luckily, my company has a yard close to Windsor, so I spent the night parked there.” He drove home Tuesday morning and headed out again Wednesday, having lost a day’s worth of work.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca

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  • why block the borders harm their completely stupid work confrere why wait until it degenerates the large majority of truckers are vaccine without crazy to wear a mask and this protect you made that causes the other trucker stay not the please. I sincerely believe that the authorities will take care of this if the other truckers decide to make their own law like you and there are many more ……..and do not think that it is not all the truckers who support you

  • Now maybe they people who work for the citizen’s of canada , trudeau and the liberal party will do what is right and not what is on their agenda.

  • People need to realize this is not about vaccines. It is about canadian charter of rights and freedom,sorry you may be inconvenienced for a day or so, but remember when border officials did it a few months ago,it was so they could have a new contract. Did you complain then, no you lived with it. So the science shows vaccines don’t work ,look at trudeau he caught covid again. There are people who can’t get vaccinated due to health reasons, so they are not being selfish as many of you have said. The government works for us not us working for them, they have to realize the people are mad and want mandates lifted federal and provincial. This could gave been settled a week ago if government would cone to the table.

    • If you would get your news from a legitimate news source and not YouTube Facebook etc you would understand that vaccines do work. Your so called inconvenience has affected innocent people for 2 weeks now. It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and spout nonsense when it doesn’t directly affect you. Maybe someone can come to your neighborhood and blow their horn at all hours. Or maybe all that donated money should go to the drivers trying to do their job but unable too because of blockades. You should go back about 40-50 years and see how far Canada has come. I mean that in a good way. I’m old enough to remember no truck travel on sundays in Ontario or not being able to sit on your front porch and drink a beer because underage kinds might see you. How about being in school and having to take that little spoonful of syrup for polio., no choice there.

  • Why can these radical people affect so many Canadian lives. The majority of Canadians are vaccinated and do not support these people. The vaccine is not that you wouldn’t get COVID it is so you don’t die from this. Understand the science from legit scientific sources please.
    They need to be removed. Protest on sidewalks and don’t be disruptive!!