Ottawa Now Says It Will Uphold Vaccine Mandate For Truckers

Citing confusion and an error, the federal government in Ottawa now says it does plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for truck drivers who are crossing the border with the United States.

Starting Saturday, all truck drivers entering Canada will have to present proof of vaccination without any exemptions — a decision that has been changed by the federal government at least three times in the last week before the new rules come into effect.

According to a statement last night (January 13), the federal government said unvaccinated Canadians coming into the country will have to take a COVID-19 test and enter isolation, while American truckers will be turned away at the border.

However, earlier this week media reports said that the Canada Border Services Agency would allow Canadian truckers to enter the country without having to quarantine, even if they were unvaccinated or had received only one dose.

“The information shared yesterday was provided in error. Our teams have been in touch with industry representatives to ensure they have the correct information,” reads the latest government statement.

“Starting January 15, unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering Canada will need to meet requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day 8 testing, as well as quarantine requirements... The final decision regarding entry and quarantine is made by a government representative at the port of entry, based on the information presented to them at the time,” the statement reads.

Thursday's last-minute reversal is something that the Canadian Trucking Alliance said will impact at least 12,000 truckers and will create major hurdles for supply chains across North America.

It also comes at a time when Canada has been grappling with a shortage of at least 23,000 truck drivers as of the end of last year, according to data from Statistics Canada.

A similar version of Ottawa’s vaccine policy is expected to be mirrored by U.S. officials as early as next week. The American Trucking Association estimates nearly 16,000 U.S. drivers will no longer be able to continue their regular freight hauls to Canada as a result of the vaccine policy.