A trucking trade group is warning of major backups at the border and supply chain snafus when a new COVID-19 vaccine requirement goes into effect this weekend.
Starting on Saturday, January 15, 2022, Canadian federal law requires that all U.S. truck drivers entering Canada show proof of full vaccination. Unvaccinated Canadian truckers who are returning from the U.S. will also be required to quarantine for 14 days, according to reports.
The U.S. is expected to enforce a similar vaccine mandate at border crossings starting on January 22, 2022.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) recently issued a statement warning that the vaccine mandates could cause massive disruption to the $650 billion in freight that crosses the Canada-US border.
“The industry is expecting a loss of 12,000-16,000 (10-15%) cross-border commercial drivers if the mandate takes effect this month, with higher or lower losses in capacity in certain regions depending on the location of companies. The enforcement of a federal domestic vaccine mandate on drivers could lead to as many as 30,000 Canadian federally regulated drivers exiting the supply chain,” the CTA said.
Additionally, Canada plans to require vaccines for workers all in federally regulated industries — including the trucking industry — starting early this year. A vaccine mandate for employees who work for large U.S. companies went into effect on Monday after the Supreme Court failed to move to block it, though the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will not issue fines until February 9, 2022.
“Feedback from CTA members from across the country over the last couple of weeks indicates the Canadian trucking industry is preparing or bracing for these mandates one way or another,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “While there’s reportedly a modest uptick of drivers getting vaccinated at some companies, there are substantial reports of higher-than-normal turnover and others declaring their intention to leave the industry or seek employment in the provincially regulated sector over the impending mandate at the border and the recently announced domestic mandate impacting the federally regulated trucking sector.”
The CTA has implored both the Canadian and U.S. governments to meet with trucking industry stakeholders to determine a more suitable date for enforcing vaccine requirements to avoid major supply chain disruptions.
“CTA and our member companies have worked closely with the Government of Canada throughout the COVID pandemic to prevent the spread of the disease throughout the supply chain and this cooperative relationship has helped make the industry safer,” said Laskowski. “CTA strongly believes the health benefits of vaccines are unquestionable. But that does not change the fact that any substantial reduction of commercial drivers, when there’s already an acute shortage, would further disrupt a very fragile supply chain and the economy. Simply put, the supply chain desperately needs more drivers to deliver goods and products that consumers depend on – not less.”