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Cross-border truck drivers no longer exempt from vaccination rules

Canada immigration recently reported that commercial truck drivers would no longer be exempt from vaccination requirements when entering Canada. This announcement came amid reports that vaccinated Canadians who return to British Columbia and other provinces within 72 hours after crossing into the United States would no longer be required to provide pre-entry molecular tests to show they are healthy. 

New rules for truckers

Currently, commercial vehicle operators are exempt from the requirements related to vaccinations when entering Canada. Federal vaccine mandates applicable to the marine, air and rail sectors also excluded truckers up to now. However, new orders will become effective on Jan.15, 2022 that will not allow truckers access to Canada without proof that they are fully vaccinated. 

In response to this announcement, the Canadian Trucking Alliance expressed concern about the impact this will have on the already disrupted supply chain on both sides of the border. Of even more concern is the restricted timeline. With the extra pressure to haul retail, medical and other supplies, truck operators spend limited periods at home, often only overnight before hailing the next load. 

The CTA president urged authorities to extend the effective date to give long-haul truckers enough time to get both vaccinations without affecting their income. He reminded authorities that commercial vehicle operators are essential workers. Approximately 120,000 Canadian long-haul drivers travel back and forth between Canada and the United States, with another 40,000 licensed American truckers travelling similar routes.  

The CTA president expressed concern that an estimated 38,000 truck operators are likely to give up running cross-border routes. This will further exacerbate the adverse impact on the supply and demand ratio. British Columbia truckers who have questions about the new regulations and their legal rights on both sides of the border would be advised to seek professional guidance.