Politics

The Sprout: Saturday deadline for unvaccinated truckers upheld

Good day and welcome to the Sprout, where today is National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day — one of the best sandwiches of all time! Saturday is National Bagel Day and National Strawberry Ice Cream Day, while Sunday is International Hot & Spicy Food Day, National Fig Newton Day, and National Quinoa Day.

Here’s today’s agriculture news.

The Lead 

We start with news of Canada’s COVID-vaccination mandate for truckers, which officials say will still take effect tomorrow (Jan. 15), despite an earlier statement from the Canada Border Services Agency that Canadian truck drivers who are unvaccinated or received only one dose would be exempted from quarantine requirements.

“On Nov. 19, 2021, we announced that, as of Jan. 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,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in a joint statement on Thursday.

“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.”

The ministers’ statement is here.

As CTV News reports, the trucking industry is disappointed and warning that the movement of goods will be delayed as a result.

“There isn’t one aspect of the supply chain that won’t be impacted by this measure,” Canadian Trucking Alliance President Stephen Laskowski told CTV Friday morning.

Related headlines:

Around Town 

Juno award-winner Bruce Cockburn is speaking out against a plan to build a $2.8-billion hospital campus on the Experimental Farm in Ottawa. iPolitics’ Jeff Labine has that story.

The federal ministerial coordinating committee on P.E.I. potatoes met on Thursday to discuss the ongoing trade dispute between Canada and the U.S., Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau tweeted.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture’s Hay West 2021 campaign continues helping drought-stricken farmers. More about the program is here.

In Canada 

Union officials are urging the Cargill meat-packing plant in High River, Alta., to reveal the number of employees infected with COVID-19 and to boost safety measures. The Moutainview Today has that story.

Meanwhile, an Alberta judge has reserved a decision on how a class-action lawsuit against the plant should proceed, after a hearing was held in Calgary on Thursday. CBC News has more.

The Manitoba government says it will auction off leases and permits on agricultural Crown land online from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4. CBC News has the details.

Alberta Health Services is looking for third-party companies to handle food services for eight hospitals and care centres in Edmonton and Calgary. CTV News has that story.

Internationally 

In other Cargill news, the American company says the increasing number of workers with COVID at North American meat-packing plants won’t cause meat shortages, according to a Bloomberg report.

And the Guardian asks: Could a global farmers’ assembly help cut agriculture pollution?

Noteworthy

The Kicker

We end today with the smashing tale of a culinary scientist who loves spuds so much, he got a PhD in mashed potatoes. CBC News has more.

That’s it for us this week. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.

This post was copy-edited after publication.

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