Ottawa Makes Last Minute Reversal on Vaccine Mandate for Truckers

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
January 13, 2022 Updated: January 13, 2022

MONTREAL—The federal government is backing down from its vaccine mandate for Canadian truckers three days before it was set to take effect.

Ottawa announced in mid-November that truck drivers crossing into Canada would need to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 15.

But on Jan. 12 evening Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy told The Canadian Press that Canadian big-riggers will not have to quarantine if they are unvaccinated or have received only one dose.

The news came as a surprise to Canadian Trucking Alliance president Stephen Laskowski, who says industry representatives met with government officials as recently as midday Jan. 12 and were told the mandate was still on track for Jan. 15.

Trade associations on both sides of the border had been pushing for a delay to the restriction, which they say would put additional strain on supply chains amid the latest COVID-19 surge and severe worker shortages.

The new rule will still take effect for American truckers, who will be turned away at the border unless they’ve been inoculated starting this weekend.

About 10 percent of the 120,000 Canadian truckers who traverse the border may not have been able to work those routes because they haven’t been jabbed, according to the trucking alliance.

The Canada Border Services Agency declined to say whether the truck drivers’ exemption is temporary or indefinite, or what prompted the change.