Wednesday, January 19, 2022

"Trudeau defends vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers amid supply chain concerns"

From The Globe and Mail, January 19 (updated a few minutes ago):

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending the federal government’s decision to implement a vaccination mandate for truck drivers despite warnings that it could worsen price increases and shortages.

Mr. Trudeau told an Ottawa news conference on Wednesday the federal government has been clear since November that the requirement for truckers would come this month.

But critics say the mandate is poorly timed, coming in the winter, when Canadians rely on international supply chains for fresh produce, and that it will push already high levels of inflation even higher.

Until Saturday, truckers were among the essential workers the government had exempted from border rules requiring travellers to be fully vaccinated or quarantine on arrival. Unvaccinated or partly vaccinated foreign truck drivers are to be sent back at the border.

Last week, the Canada Border Services Agency said Canadian truck drivers would remain exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, but three federal cabinet ministers said late the next day in a statement that the announcement was a mistake. They did not explain how this happened, or why it took almost a full day to correct the error.

Mr. Trudeau said on Wednesday that truckers have known for months the mandate was coming, and the United States will soon bring an “identical” one into force to ensure truckers are vaccinated for international travel. The U.S. government has not said when it will be implemented, but media reports have pointed to Jan. 22.

“We are aligned with them,” Mr. Trudeau said....