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Trucking Experts Respond to Vaccination Mandate


Industry experts fear this week’s confusion over the COVID-19 vaccine’s new mandate for truckers will leave some drivers, who thought they would be exempt, stranded if they’re already on their way.

Mike Millian, chairman of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, told CTV News in an emailed statement the group is seeking a temporary exemption for unvaccinated truckers who were dispatched earlier this week after the Border Services Agency of Canada (CBSA) said they would be exempt from quarantine or proof of a negative molecular test at the border.

“With the news circulating on the 13th, and no clarifications or corrections in the messaging … many carriers then sent unvaccinated drivers to the United States to cover loads that needed to be delivered,” Millian said in the statement.

He said the trucking industry had not been clarified on the mandate until the federal government publicly announced Thursday that unvaccinated Canadians would not be exempt from the new federal vaccine mandate for truckers that will come into effect. force Saturday.

In a joint statement, Canada’s Ministers of Transport, Health and Public Safety said Canada’s original policy remains, requiring truckers arriving in Canada from the United States to be fully vaccinated or to be submitted PCR testing and quarantine requirements.

Although the CBSA told reporters on Wednesday that unvaccinated Canadian truckers arriving at the border “will remain exempt” from testing or quarantine requirements, the government said information provided by a spokesperson was incorrect.

Millian says that “all of that about-face” in messaging has created “mass confusion” in the trucking industry.

“If the message delivered late Wednesday was in error, why did it take longer than 16 hours for officials to issue a statement correcting the error?” he said in the statement. “This 16 hour period of silence has turned the lives of many drivers upside down and will require some to self-quarantine at home for 14 days following an erroneous message from government officials.”

As it is, and as was initially the case prior to this week’s confusion, unvaccinated Canadian truckers will be “required to meet pre-entry, arrival, and day eight testing requirements.” , as well as quarantine requirements ”, as they cannot be refused entry. in Canada.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated non-Canadian truckers will be turned away if they are unable to show proof of immunization or a valid medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccines.

In order to qualify as a fully immunized foreign national, non-Canadian truckers must have completed their series of authorized vaccines at least 14 days prior to entering the country and have submitted the required information through the ArriveCAN app.

The United States has scheduled a similar warrant to come into effect for any driver entering the United States on or after January 22.

SUPPLY CHAIN ​​PROBLEMS

Millian previously told CTV News Channel on Thursday that it was important to remember truck drivers delivered needed supplies amid the pandemic, such as medical gases to hospitals, COVID-19 vaccines, food and fuel, which could have disastrous effects if interrupted.

“We already have a fractured supply chain and if we damage that, the supplies that we need for our own health and safety, we’re going to see a shortage,” Millian warned.

Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) President Stephen Laskowski told CTV’s Your Morning that the new COVID-19 vaccine requirement for truckers “will definitely have a negative impact” on the supply chain, resulting in delays in getting goods to their destination.

“There is not one aspect of the supply chain that will not be impacted by this measure,” Laskowski said on Friday.

According to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association (CME), the trucking industry transports about 80 percent of the $ 648 billion annually in Canada-U.S. Trade.

Laskowski said some sectors will be hit harder than others, due to their ability to secure the transport of goods with a truck driver who meets new vaccine requirements.

“Some parts of our supply chain will be more exposed to this because of their ability to secure the movement of goods. So the general direction (…) is the disruption in some areas,” he said. .

The CTA reports that around 10 to 15 percent of drivers in the industry are unvaccinated. Laskowski says this mandate would therefore deprive approximately 12,000 Canadian truckers and thousands more from the United States of cross-border shipping routes.

He noted that this would be a big reduction in manpower for an industry that is already facing a shortage of manpower.

“When these people leave the market, there is no backup, these trucks just sit there,” Laskowski said. “Unlike other areas where we can get people to temporarily fill or fill a period, we can’t, so it will be felt immediately.”

Given the amount of Canadian agri-food imports entering Canada by truck, Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analysis Laboratory at Dalhousie University, said the warrant would be “the first public health measure that could disrupt trade. between Canada and the United States since the start of the pandemic. “

Industry experts across the border are also expressing concern.

In a statement released Thursday, Bob Costello, senior vice president and chief economist of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) urged “leaders in Ottawa and Washington to reconsider these mandates so that we can avoid further economic disruption. “.

Laskowski noted that the trucking industry was not opposed to the vaccine mandate, but was pushing the federal government to work with supply chains to implement the requirement on a “less disruptive date.” »Until January 15th.

“We are very supportive of the use of vaccines. It’s the best tool in the toolbox, but the reality is that the trucking industry is a reflection of Canadian society, ”he said.

“Our industry is not immune to the vaccine hesitancy shared by Canadians.

With files from Rachel Aiello of CTVNews.ca




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