Beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, truck drivers crossing the U.S. border into Canada will have to provide proof they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
To enter Canada, drivers must be fully vaccinated and must have received their last dose at least 14 days before entering. The Canadian government has set up the ArriveCAN website and app in which travelers into the country are required to enter their contact information, vaccination information, and more at least 72 hours before entering the country. More than two-thirds of the $511 billion in goods traded annually between Canada and the United States travels on roads.
Canadian Vaccination Requirements
To meet the requirements of being “fully vaccinated” to enter Canada, travelers must have received either two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines; or one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Non-Canadian citizens who try to enter the country unvaccinated will be turned around, while unvaccinated Canadian citizens will be quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to reenter the country.
“About 10 per cent of the 120,000 Canadian big-riggers who traverse the border may not be able to work those routes because they haven’t been jabbed” says Stephen Laskowski, head of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
Will the United States Do the Same?
The United States is expected to institute a similar mandate on Jan. 22. The requirement, which the White House previewed in October, brings the rules for essential travelers in line with those that took effect earlier this month for leisure travelers, when the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals. The rules pertain to non-U.S. nationals. American citizens and permanent residents may still enter the U.S. regardless of their vaccination status, but face additional testing hurdles because officials believe they more easily contract and spread COVID-19 and in order to encourage them to get a shot.
Vaccine Mandates Strain Supply Chains, Truckers Say
The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada have been lobbying against the mandate for truck drivers, claiming the mandate will have a severe negative impact on an already strained supply chain.
CTA estimates that the Canadian trucking industry is expecting a loss of 12,000-16,000 (10%-15%) cross-border truck drivers due to the mandate. “There are many of our members who have already said they will not be dispatching unvaccinated drivers across the border,” Laskowski said. Transport companies never opposed the vaccine mandate; “it’s the timing of it,” he said, citing supply-chain pressure points ranging from clogged ports to sick workers and inflation.
Flooding in British Columbia last year and China’s “zero-COVID policy” have added to supply-chain bottlenecks, said the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition in a letter signed by 18 industry association heads, who are asking for a delay. The vaccine mandate will “only aggravate things further,” the Petroleum Services Association of Canada said in a release.
Food and agricultural products could also feel the squeeze.
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