Trucking industry divided over vaccine mandates: Poll

Members of Canada’s trucking industry appear divided over whether truck drivers should be required to vaccinate against Covid-19.

In a monthly Pulse survey of Today’s Trucking readers conducted on Jan. 26, 52% agreed with the mandates, while 48% opposed the idea. Just over one third (38%) had vaccine mandates within their workplaces.

truck driver vaccine protest
(Photo: John G. Smith)

The 711 responses included a cross section of drivers, owner-operators, fleet managers, and executives. But the results were similar across the job functions. Among the 298 drivers and owner-operators, 53% agreed truck drivers should be required to vaccinate. Fifty-five percent of the fleet managers and owners took the same stance.

The survey was conducted after Canada and the U.S. imposed vaccine mandates on cross-border truck drivers, and when convoys of those protesting vaccine mandates and other public health guidelines began to roll. Canada’s vaccine mandate was imposed Jan. 15, while the U.S. began applying its mandate Jan. 22.

Twenty-two percent of those who responded to the survey said employees have left their workplace specifically because of the vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers. Just over 4% said they had personally changed jobs because of it.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has predicted the trucking industry could lose 12,000 to 16,000 cross-border truck drivers based on overall vaccination rates and the number of drivers involved in cross-border work.

Among those surveyed, 29% expected most unvaccinated cross-border truck drivers to begin driving domestic routes for the same fleet, 19% thought the drivers would begin driving domestic routes at another fleet, and 33% said they would leave the trucking industry entirely. About 15% thought such drivers would attempt to ignore the rules, while 4% would switch to non-driving jobs.

Respondents in the Today’s Trucking poll were equally divided about whether vaccine mandates encourage more truck drivers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Asked to rank the affect of a vaccine mandate on cross-border supply chains on a scale of 1-100, with 1 representing an improvement and 5 representing harm, the average score was 59, suggesting little to no change is expected.

Late last year, the federal government also announced plans to introduce a vaccine mandate for all federally regulated truck drivers, including those who cross provincial borders. Details of that mandate have yet to emerge.

Today’s Trucking Pulse survey are conducted by email once a month.

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  • I am very concerned about the far right that the trucker’s protest is attracting. At a time when authoritarian regimes, such as Russia and China, are flexing their muscles we should be concentrating on protecting our real freedoms. The demands of the far right are a terrifying threat to our freedoms. It’s time for moderates to stand up and defend the rights of democratic process.

  • I hope the mandate also has them show proof of vaccinations for diphtheria and tetanus, polio, chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella, hepatitis B, and tuberculosis.

  • I support the trucker’ convoy to stop the vaccine mandates. I don’t think truckers who choose not to be vaccinated should loose their jobs. It will disrupt the supply chain and impoverish families. As the pandemic winds down we should listen to the scientists who know that the omicron virus is not a virulent and more contagious. The corona virus is everywhere and is causing mild illness in the vaccinated as well as the unvaccinated. Let’s just learn to live with it.

  • The fact that 90% of Canadian truck drivers being vaccinated, does not apply to the over 50% to almost zero availability of US drivers and freight providers that come into Canada.
    The decision by freight providers to accommodate or have able drivers for import services from US to Canada has been drastically impacted. Mandates for proof of vaccination should be eliminated, or rolled back to at least proof of a negative test, applicable to essential service drivers to the pre Jan 15 vaccine mandate.
    The realization of product shortages and availability will compound dramatically over the next few weeks on top the already backlog of imports adding to the strain on our manufacturing and supply chain of products experienced the past year.

  • Keep us safe this got out of control it’s not what it started to be and we all have to help keep each other safe thank u mandates