Canada and the U.S. share one of the largest trading relationships in the world, with more than $3.4 billion worth of goods crossing the border each day. But amidst the pandemic, a protocol was established to enforce vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the US-Canada border.
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Cross border vaccine mandate for truckers
In the pandemic, all truck drivers entering Canada, especially the US truckers were required to utilize advance declaration to save time at the border. This platform served as a means to furnish essential travel details, including vaccination verification. The Biden administration also announced vaccine requirements for truck drivers based in Canada and Mexico. This vaccine mandate began in January 2022.
According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), this implementation has pushed 10% of cross-border drivers, 16,000 individuals off the roads. Notably only essential trucks were allowed to cross the border due to their crucial role. But the cost of bringing even essential goods from the US to Canada doubled during the pandemic due to a driver shortage.
Drop of vaccine mandates by Canada and US
Canada abandoned the vaccine mandate in October, 2022, as a response to pressure exerted on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by the primary opposition party and the trucking lobby. This pressure prompted the decision to revoke the vaccine mandate for truckers.
In the beginning of May 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared that non-U.S. travelers entering the United States through land ports of entry and ferry terminals would not be obligated to possess complete COVID-19 vaccination.
Both the The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) supported the drop of vaccine mandate and passed a statement saying “continues to work on several additional border barriers where border policies remain misaligned with a coalition of trucking groups, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), National Tank Truck Carriers and Truckload Carriers Association.”
Reasons to drop the vaccine mandate
Protests erupted against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed on cross-border truck drivers between the US and Canada. Truckers and their supporters, frustrated by the vaccine requirements, initiated the “Freedom Convoy,” a convoy of trucks.
The Ambassador Bridge, which links Windsor in Canada and Detroit in the United States, experienced intermittent closures in both directions for multiple days due to the protests. Additionally, demonstrators blocked the Coutts border crossing in Alberta and the Emerson Port of Entry between Manitoba and North Dakota.
Horn-blaring demonstrations demanding an end to Canadian COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in capital Ottawa causing gridlock.
The decision to drop the vaccine mandate by Canada and the US was driven by pressure from opposition parties and industry groups, concerns about economic impact and logistical challenges, public protests, border efficiency, and changing pandemic dynamics.
I am an HR by profession and a fervent writer at heart. My passion for writing and reading has been an intrinsic part of who I am. I take immense pleasure in sharing my thoughts and the detailed information of the logistics industry through my blogs. Previously in my college days I have published articles on ISBNs. Additionally, my writing ventures have extended to covering topics on Human Resource Management and Trucking and transportation Management reaching international and Indian audiences.