Canadian truckers protest vaccine mandate

January 25, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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A cross-border vaccine mandate has prompted truck drivers in Canada to launch a protest.

According to multiple reports, hundreds of Canadian truck drivers are participating in slow-rolling convoys in opposition of COVID-19 vaccine mandates at the U.S. border.

Reuters reported that the convoys started on Sunday, Jan. 23, in Vancouver and are expected to continue until the drivers reach Ottawa on Jan. 29.

The United States and Canada each have mandates blocking unvaccinated foreign nationals, including truck drivers, from crossing the border. Canada’s mandate, which requires U.S. truckers to show proof of vaccination before entering the country, went into effect Jan. 15. The U.S. mandate, which requires cross-border truckers to be vaccinated, started Jan. 22.

Both rules have been criticized over concerns they would create more supply chain disruptions. Shortly after Canada’s mandate went into effect, Bloomberg reported that it already had led to a surge in produce prices.

Fundraiser

Truckers launched a fundraiser on GoFundMe titled “Freedom Convoy 2022.” According to the website, the fundraiser to help with the costs of fuel, food and lodging had already generated more than $4.6 million in Canadian currency as of Tuesday afternoon.

However, the Toronto Star reported that GoFundMe froze access to the money, because the website requires fundraisers to have a “clear plan on how the funds will be spent.” The funds will reportedly be held until the organizer of the group is able to provide documentation about how the funds will be distributed.

The fundraiser has tallied nearly 60,000 donations, and the website has generated more than 7,200 comments – almost all in support.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, meanwhile, said it does not support and “strongly disapproves” of any protests on public roadways, highways and bridges.

“CTA believes such actions – especially those that interfere with public safety – are not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed,” the group said in a news release.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance had previously been critical of the mandates, saying that “hasty implementation could spell even more trouble for the North American supply chain.”

In December, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and 13 other senators wrote to President Joe Biden asking for the United States and Canada to establish a reciprocal policy for cross-border truckers that does not include a vaccine mandate.

OOIDA opposed to mandates

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is opposed to the mandates.

“OOIDA has always maintained that vaccination is a personal choice just like any health decision,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said when the cross-border mandates were announced in November. “Throughout the pandemic, essential workers like professional truckers have continued operating safely back and forth across the Canadian border to ensure North Americans have the food and supplies they need. Drivers have done so without having to disclose their personal health history. We have seen all too often how unnecessary government mandates can force experienced owner-operators and independent truckers out of business. These requirements are another example of how impractical regulations will send safe drivers off the road.” LL

 

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.