No date yet for mandatory vaccination of interprovincial truckers

While truckers crossing the Canada-U.S. border must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 15, the federal government still hasn’t set a date for the mandatory inoculation of interprovincial truck drivers.

On Dec. 7, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan announced a mandatory vaccination policy for all federally regulated workplaces.

Truckers who cross provincial boundaries are included in this mandate.

“The new regulations would ensure that employees in all other federally regulated industries, such as road transportation, telecommunications, and banking, are also vaccinated,” reads the announcement, but it doesn’t say when the rules take effect.

“The government will consult with key stakeholders, including representatives of small and medium-sized employers, as it works expeditiously to finalize the new regulations, which would come into force in early 2022,” it continues.

Despite the mention of “early 2022,” and the vaccine mandate taking effect at the border on Jan. 15, the government won’t say exactly when the interprovincial mandate will come into force. Daniel Pollak, O’Regan’s press secretary, would only say it’s coming soon.

Marco Beghetto, vice-president of communications at the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), hasn’t been given much information on the interprovincial mandate, either.

Ottawa “is expected to announce its policy in this area shortly,” he told iPolitics in an email on Jan. 10.

More details of the mandate for the Canada-U.S. border are coming sometime this week, he said, but “the government has not communicated any contingencies for truck drivers who will exit the system, based on either the border or domestic mandate.”

Approximately 10 to 15 per cent of cross-border truckers — about 16,000 people — could be forced off the roads by the cross-border mandate, according to CTA estimates.

A federal official quoted in a recent Reuters story says that number is closer to five per cent.

“Another 10 to 15 per cent” will probably be affected by the domestic mandate, Baghetto told iPolitics on Wednesday.

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