U.S. vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers coming in days: Trudeau

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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.”

Canada-U.S. border
(Photo: istock)

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.”

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • A lot of truck drivers are not happy even before this. I think we might see protests at a number of locations
    I am taking down a wheelchair van with sick and disabled drivers and vets to a protest from the non-profit Huron Easy share.

  • Ontario reported January 18 that the fully vaccinated made up 77.8%, or 5,439 cases, of Ontario’s 7,085 Covid cases, and the unvaccinated just 15.3%, or 1,087 cases, of the total number. With 82% of all Ontarians aged 5+ fully vaccinated and 12% unvaccinated, Ontario quadrupled the previous high in cases back in April with 18,445 cases January 1, 2022.

    The fully vaccinated are getting infected at a rate of 65.22 per 100,000 cases compared to 54.06 per 100K for the unvaccinated.

    Despite clear and indisputable epidemiological evidence showing that the fully vaccinated are driving Ontario’s record wave of cases, the govt and public health continue to undermine their own credibility with the misleading daily messages that Covid-19 vaccines are “the best way out of the pandemic.” The vaccines have failed so miserably that Ontario increased restrictions again January 5, reverting to Step 2 from Step 3 of its reopening plan.

    • “Ontario reported January 18 that the fully vaccinated made up 77.8%, or 5,439 cases, of Ontario’s 7,085 Covid cases, and the unvaccinated just 15.3%, or 1,087 cases, of the total number.”

      That is because there is 78% vaccinated in Ontario so of course, there will be more hospitalizations by vaccinated. What you are not mentioning is the severity of the infection in unvaccinated is far greater than the vaccinated. Most of the patients in ICUs are unvaccinated..not the vaccinated.

      “Despite clear and indisputable epidemiological evidence showing that the fully vaccinated are driving Ontario’s record wave of cases”

      Maybe in your mind but nowhere else. Two factors are driving the waves:
      1-Politicians like Ford, Kenny, Moe and Pallister put wealth before health and rushed to stop the lockdowns early to get the economy going. Instead of waiting the first time until there were zero cases, Ford opens up the schools in September while cases were still over 300 daily and to no surprise, we had a wave. And he does this over and over, too stupid to ever learn from his past mistake and continues to rush to open. If we had had a hard lockdown to begin with, we would have been through this already.
      2-waves of new variants are caused by people getting infected. The more people who get infected, the more chances that the virus will mutate. That is why everyone was told to social distance and wear masks to stop the spread and ability for the virus to mutate.

      So if you really want to blame the people responsible for this, then blame the conservative politicians that continually ignored the facts jeopardized the health and financial well-being of all Ontarians and continued to reopen the economy too early to please their big business donors. and the idiots that couldn’t man up and put a little piece of paper on their face. And blame the idiots who couldn’t man up and put a little piece of paper over their face for a few hours.

  • John G Smith:
    What about the southern U.S. border to complete the story! Also, make it clear about the direction on how the goods flow… When it is winter in the northern hemisphere fresh produce typically comes from the south. Thus, Canada’s restriction on U.S. truckers being vaccinated is a self-imposed factor negatively impacting the delivery of fresh produce to Canada. But, a good part of the U.S. is too cold at this time of the year to produce fresh produce. Thus, the source of fresh produce, for the most part, must come from south of the U.S. border…
    John, it would have been nice if you had extended yourself a bit further and tracked the flow of fresh produce from its source to its destination, and provided a description of who and what will be responsible for the delays.
    My guess is that you are Canadian and, therefore, are focused on what impacts the Canadian economy. However, may you should consider expanding your views to a more global level and explain the complete picture of the Western Hemisphere trucker mandate issue. Just a thought…
    Thank you!

  • it’s funny we didn’t need Vax for 2 years we were essential no questions asked and now we all need to be based and get asked 20 questions at the border to enter my own country their avrivcan app is a joke I answered the questions gotmu we vode and get to the border told by border agent sorry not on file so I ask t HH en how did I get the qrcode stamps my paperwork said I could leave

  • I don’t understand. If the U.S. blocks unvaccinated drivers from Canada, what difference does it make if Canada lifts its vaccine mandates on truckers going to the U.S.?