OTTAWA, Ontario — Canadian officials admit to major confusion over whether truckers would remain exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate after bureaucrats misinterpreted policy in more than one federal agency — including the one that coordinates Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company reported that “the trucking industry was caught by surprise on Jan. 12 when the Canada Border Services Agency sent a statement to media saying that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated truck drivers crossing into Canada from the United States would remain exempt from the vaccine mandate. …”
The Trucker had reported that news on its website and social media.
However, the Canadian government has now said in a statement that the information was sent to members of the press “in error.”
Canada’s truck drivers will need to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a two-week quarantine and pre-arrival molecular test for COVID-19 before crossing into Canada.
Additionally, any truckers who are not U.S. citizens crossing from Canada to the United States must show proof of vaccination before crossing the border.
The Canadian government provided no more explanation for the botched messaging, which one trucking industry association said prompted some unvaccinated truckers to be dispatched across the border during the period when everyone thought Ottawa had backed down.
Meanwhile, many truckers in Canada are participating in a strike against vaccine mandates that’s been dubbed as Freedom Convoy 2022.
The group had raised more than $2 million as of Sunday. The money will be used to help with fuel costs, food, lodging and other incidentals needed to help sustain the striking truckers.
The truckers are traveling from Vancouver to Ottawa, where they say they will sit until the mandate is abolished. The hashtag #FreedomConvoy2022 has thousands of posts and videos showing long lines of truckers slowly making their way to Canada’s capital.
The trucking industry is vital to ensure smooth flow of goods since more than two-thirds of the C$650 billion ($521 billion) in goods traded annually between Canada and the United States travels on roads.
But as many as 32,000, or 20%, of the 160,000 Canadian and American cross-border truck drivers may be taken off the roads due to the mandate, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates.
The CTA, however, said in a statement on Saturday it does not support any protests on public road ways and the only way to cross the border on a commercial truck is by getting vaccinated.
On Facebook Monday, thousands of posts were dedicated to talking about the Freedom Convoy.
“We are standing up for everyone!” wrote Paul Splinter on Facebook. “From the mom and pop restaurants to the doctors and nurses! Every single person in Canada are being represented in this Freedom Convoy.”
Craig Hunt wrote: “Big thank you to all the truckers and supporters heading to Ottawa! The support along the highway has been amazing as is the financial support… LET’S KEEP BUILDING THE MOMENTUM!”
Others remained concerned that the movement was attracting far-right extremists who are seeking to hijack it for their own political agendas.
“Let this be clear: We are protesting government overreach here,” wrote J.S. Sanders on a Canadian trucking message board. “We are not trying to overthrow this or any government. We just want our voices heard.”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.