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Unvaccinated Canadian truckers won’t be exempt from COVID-19 measures at border

Testing and quarantine still to be required, Canadian officials say

Canadian cross-border truckers who aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will, in fact, face mandatory testing and quarantining after returning from U.S. trips starting Saturday, senior government officials said. 

“Let us be clear: This has not changed. The information shared yesterday was provided in error,” according to a statement shared Thursday by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino. “Our teams have been in touch with industry representatives to ensure they have the correct information”

The announcement followed reports late Wednesday that the government planned to continue exempting unvaccinated Canadian truckers from the entry requirements that regular travelers currently face.

The reports, which appeared in multiple Canadian media outlets and cited a Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson, triggered a day of confusion and frustration among carriers.

“What happens to companies and drivers that now have made all these changes to their operations to accommodate what the government is trying to execute?”  said Rob Piccioni, CEO of Montreal-based carrier and freight brokerage Fuel Transport.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Canadian drivers will begin to be subjected to the requirements on the same day that Canada is set to begin allowing only fully vaccinated U.S. truckers to cross the border. 

Canadian truckers are expected to face a similar vaccine mandate from the U.S. government starting Jan. 22. Once the U.S. vaccine mandate takes effect, any requirements imposed by Canada on unvaccinated Canadian drivers would become moot.

Industry groups on both sides of the border have pushed back on the U.S. and Canadian vaccine mandates, citing fears that thousands of drivers will leave cross-border trucking.

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at ntabak@freightwaves.com.