‘Ridiculous’ — Canada’s border closes to unvaccinated truckers
Industry watchers foresee grim days ahead as Canada on Saturday and the United States on Jan.
22 close their land borders to commercial truckers who are not vaccinated.
(C) Provided by Windsor Star Transport trucks enter Canada after being cleared by Canada Border Services Agency at the Ambassador Bridge on Friday, Jan.
14, 2022. As of Saturday, unvaccinated truckers can’t cross the Canada-U.S.A. border.
“It’s ridiculous. For me, it’s going to be parts, but for you it’s going to be groceries,” said Jonathan Azzopardi, chairman of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers.
Referring to the economically important automotive and parts manufacturing sector, the president of Windsor-based Laval International added that: “It will put extra pressure on an industry already under tremendous pressure.” Even before the latest measures being implemented to protect Canadians from COVID-19’s Omicron variant, Azzopardi said finding trucks to move goods was challenging enough, and increasingly expensive. “Even if we lose 10 per cent (of commercial drivers), that’s 10 per cent on a system already under strain,” he said. “Government is not thinking about industry.”
Trucks move about 80 per cent of £648 billion in annual Canada-U.S.A. cross-border trade. The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates between 10 and 15 per cent of truckers are unvaccinated — up to 12,000 Canadian truckers. “On Nov.
19, 2021, we announced that as of Jan.
15, 2022, certain categories of travellers who are currently exempt from entry requirements will only be allowed to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved for entry into Canada,” three federal ministers said in joint statement. Their statement on Thursday followed one issued the day before by Canada Border Services Agency — sent “in error” — that had appeared to reverse the border vaccination requirement.
(C) Dax Melmer Some industry sources are concerned that less trucks will be crossing the Canada-U.S.A. border after a Canadian ban on unvaccinated drivers starts Saturday. A similar ban planned for U.S.-bound truckers starts Saturday, Jan.
22. Commercial rigs are shown lining up to enter Canada on the Ambassador Bridge on Friday.
Canadian truckers can’t be refused entry into Canada, but, if unvaccinated, they will be required to quarantine. Foreign national truckers who are unvaccinated or even only partially vaccinated will be directed back to the U.S.
Azzopardi — a firm believer in the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations who got his booster shot on Friday — said health authorities are targeting the wrong industry. He said some drivers don’t even exit their trucks at their delivery destinations. Regulations could be put in place, he added, to have them remain distanced from anyone else while loading or offloading.
Meanwhile, he said, food servers interacting with many others through their entire work shifts are currently not even required to be vaccinated.
“Trucks are more important than some of those other industries,” said Azzopardi. With many of the fruits and vegetables in Canadian grocery stores over the winter months trucked in from the United States, concerns have been expressed over higher food prices and potential empty shelves. “You’re going to see it,” said Azzopardi. “You literally don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you.”
(C) Dax Melmer Transport trucks enter Canada after being cleared by Canada Border Services Agency at the Ambassador Bridge on Friday.
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