After the Canadian government officially ended cross-border COVID-19 vaccine requirements, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is calling on the U.S. to follow Canada’s lead.
Canadian officials announced the removal of all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering the country, effective on October 1, 2022. The announcement ends a requirement put in place on January 15, 2022 requiring that all U.S. truck drivers entering Canada show proof of full vaccination — a rule that sparked a high profile trucker protest movement in the spring of 2022.
Following the announcement of dropped vaccine rules in Canada, OOIDA is urging the U.S. government to drop similar cross-border vaccine requirements.
In a September 26 letter addressed to President Biden, OOIDA President & CEO Todd Spencer urged him to “end the vaccination requirement for non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.”
Spencer argues that truckers are essential workers who already face an “enormous regulatory burden” and that easing these rules would benefit the trucking industry.
The letter points out that the nature of a truck driver’s work day puts them at reduced risk for spreading COVID-19.
“Since commercial drivers spend the majority of their time alone in their vehicle and outside, there is no evidence that truckers present a higher risk of spreading the virus. Moreover, there is no evidence that truckers have been the source of any coronavirus outbreaks within the United States, suggesting that the cross-border mandate is likely to be having little, if any, effect,” Spencer wrote.
OOIDA also pointed out the negative ramifications that vaccine requirements have had on trucking businesses.
“OOIDA has always maintained that vaccination is a personal choice just like any health decision, and we have provided our members with the most up-to-date information about how they can receive COVID-19 vaccines. But for drivers who have made a decision that doesn’t comply with the mandate, it has forced them out of business or to change their operations,” Spencer continued.
“In a recent interview, you said yourself that, “The pandemic is over.” With this recognition that our country has moved passed the pandemic phase of the public health crisis caused by COVID- 19, we think this is a perfect time to move past these mandates,” Spencer concluded.