The federal government says the vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the United States will come into effect this Saturday as planned, despite a previous statement from the Canada Border Services Agency that said Canadian truck drivers would be exempt.
In a release today, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos along with the transport and public safety ministers say the CBSA statement from Wednesday evening was ``provided in error,'' and that Canadian truckers must be vaccinated if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test, starting this weekend.
The cabinet ministers say unvaccinated American big-riggers will be turned back at the border, with the U.S. preparing to impose similar restrictions on Canadian truckers on Jan. 22.
Government representatives offered no explanation for the incorrect information emailed to media more than 20 hours earlier.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations say up to 26,000 of the 160,000 drivers who make regular cross-border trips will be sidelined as a result of the mandate, adding further bottlenecks and potential price hikes to the flow of goods ranging from food to medical devices.
The federal Conservatives as well as trade groups representing oil, manufacturing and export companies called on Ottawa this week to postpone the Jan. 15 deadline, which was announced in mid-November.
Requirements for truckers entering Canada in effect as of January 15, 2022
From: Public Health Agency of Canada
January 13, 2022 - Ottawa, ON - Public Health Agency of Canada
Today, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, issued the following statement:
"On November 19, 2021, we announced that as of January 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.
These groups include several essential service providers, including truck drivers. Let us be clear: This has not changed. The information shared yesterday was provided in error. Our teams have been in touch with industry representatives to ensure they have the correct information.
A Canadian truck driver who is not fully vaccinated can't be denied entry into Canada—Canadian citizens, persons registered as Indians under the Indian Act and permanent residents may enter Canada by right.
As announced in November and as we've communicated with the industry recently, starting January 15, unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering Canada will need to meet requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day 8 testing, as well as quarantine requirements.
The final decision regarding entry and quarantine is made by a government representative at the port of entry, based on the information presented to them at the time.
Any individual who is symptomatic upon arrival to Canada will be directed to a Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) official and will be directed to isolate for 10 days from the time symptoms first occurred.
As of January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign national truck drivers, coming to Canada from the US by land, will be directed back to the United States.
To qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller and to enter Canada, foreign national truck drivers must:
- have received at least two doses of a vaccine accepted for travel, a mix of two accepted vaccines
- or at least one dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine
- have received their second dose at least 14 full days before they enter Canada. For example: if a driver received their second dose anytime on Saturday, January 1, then Sunday, January 16 would be the first day that they would meet the 14-day condition.
- Have submitted all required COVID-19 information into ArriveCAN.
The Government of Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to prioritize the health and safety of Canadians. As vaccination levels, case counts and hospitalization rates evolve, the Government of Canada will continue to consider further targeted measures at the borders—and when to lift or adjust them—to keep Canadians safe."