Essential Truck Drivers Required to Show Proof of Vaccination to Enter Canada

After some confusion surrounding border restrictions requiring Canadian truck drivers to show proof of vaccination to enter Canada, the Canadian Government has announced that it will stick to the previously announced requirement: all truck drivers must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter Canada.

Restrictions announced on November 19 will be implemented on January 15

The tightening of restrictions was previously announced on November 19, 2021 and scheduled to take effect on January 15, 2022.

The confusion came on January 12, 2022 when the government announced it was modifying the requirements for Canadian truck drivers, who would not be required to show proof of vaccination starting on January 15, 2022. The announcement on January 12, 2022 was met with harsh criticism from a variety of industries that rely on their truck drivers to transport essential goods and services.

Within 24 hours of the confusing announcement, the Government of Canada released a statement that the announcement was “provided in error” and that restrictions announced in November would stand. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told a CBC News Network that the error occurred due to a spokesperson having “incomplete” information.

The latest restriction updates for truck drivers

Throughout the majority of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions implemented by the Canadian Government and enforced by Canada Border Services Agency have allowed an exemption for most restrictions for essential service providers such as truck drivers. Based on the clarifying announcement made on January 13, 2022 it is expected that the updated travel restrictions will be implemented on January 15, 2022 as scheduled and will eliminate the exemption previously made for truck drivers from the requirement of being fully vaccinated for entry to Canada, 14-day quarantine requirement for those that are unvaccinated and pre- and post-arrival testing requirements.

After January 15, 2022, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed to enter Canada if they meet the criteria for limited exceptions, which apply to certain groups such as agricultural and food processing workers, marine crew members, those entering on compassionate grounds, new permanent residents, resettling refugees and some children under the age of 18. Exempt unvaccinated travellers will continue to be subject to testing, quarantine, and other entry requirements. Non-exempt unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will be prohibited entry into Canada.

Concerns from industry leaders

Both sides of the border have criticized the incoming travel as supply chain issues continue to be a concern as the pandemic continues. Spokespersons from various trucking associations and essential industries have urged the Canadian Government to delay the restrictions for truck drivers to avoid affecting companies that may not have vaccinated drivers who would otherwise be able to transport essential goods.

The U.S. intends to implement reciprocal restrictions

In response to Canada’s tightened restrictions, the U.S. announced that it would be implementing similar restrictions for truck drivers scheduled to take effect on January 22, 2022 that would require truck drivers and other essential travellers to be vaccinated to be allowed through land ports of entry.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.