Canada relaxes border vax mandate after industry pressure

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Updated Jan 14, 2022
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a last-minute reversal to Canada's border vaccine requirement Wednesday, allowing unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Canadian drivers to cross into the country without issue.

"Unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers arriving at the border will remain exempt from pre-arrival, on arrival and post-arrival testing and quarantine requirement," Canada's Border Service Agency told Commercial Carrier Journal.

However, the border vaccine mandate will remain in effect for U.S. citizens attempting to cross the border.

“Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals, including American truck drivers, will be prohibited entry into Canada as of January 15, 2022,” CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy said. 

The move comes after Trudeau's government faced pressure from the freight industry to relax the ban. The Canadian Truckers Association estimated that the Canadian trucking industry would lose 12,000-16,000 (10-15%) cross-border truck drivers due to the mandate.

The mandate was set to begin on Saturday, Jan. 15, requiring truck drivers crossing the northern U.S. border into Canada to provide proof they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CBSA said that the move corresponded with a similar U.S. border vaccine mandate, which is set to go into effect Jan. 22. 

“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,” CTA president Stephen Laskowski previously said of the ban