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Canada halts vaccine mandate for truckers

Political and industry pressure appear to have helped the Canadian government to drop its mandate that all Canadian truckers prove they have taken coronavirus vaccine shots.

According to a Jan. 12 story from Reuters the Canada Border Services Agency said that unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering Canada from a U.S.-Canada border crossing will remain exempt from pre-arrival, arrival and post-arrival testing and quarantine requirements.

However, truck drivers from the U.S. will still need to be vaccinated or they will be turned back at the border from Jan. 15, a CBSA spokesperson told Reuters. A Canadian government source said the decision was taken to ensure smooth supply chains.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been facing pressure from the main opposition party and trucking lobby to drop the vaccine mandate for truckers, set to go into effect Jan. 15, saying it could result in driver shortages, disrupt trade and drive up inflation.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association BB #:153602 has been lobbying the government to drop the mandate based on significant concerns from members.

“Members anticipate that product shortages and increased costs to consumers will result if the current deadline is enforced,” CPMA told members early this week. “To ensure the continued availability of fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables for all Canadians, CPMA is recommending an approach that supports vaccination uptake by addressing barriers to compliance, including expanding the timeframe for domestic and foreign truckers to meet vaccination requirements.”

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services