OOIDA asks Biden, Trudeau to exempt truckers from vaccine mandate

February 7, 2022

Mark Schremmer


The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wants U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to exempt truck drivers from the countries’ cross-border vaccination requirements.

OOIDA sent a letter to both leaders on Monday, Feb. 7.

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 foreign cross-border truckers to be vaccinated, started Jan. 22.

OOIDA contends that truck drivers demonstrated that they could operate safely back and forth across the border through the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since commercial drivers spend the majority of their time alone in their vehicle and outside, there is no evidence that truckers present a higher risk of spreading the virus,” OOIDA wrote to Biden and Trudeau.

“Because the current cross-border policy disregards the economic contributions of the trucking industry and overlooks the basic operating procedures of the profession, we urge you to immediately exempt professional truck drivers from the proof of vaccination mandate. An arbitrary vaccine mandate should not prevent hard-working men and women from earning a living.”

In the U.S. letter, OOIDA also noted that the U.S. Department of Labor acknowledged that truck drivers were not at high risk to spread the virus and exempted truckers from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s proposed vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard released in November. OSHA’s guidance said the requirements would not apply to truck drivers who do not occupy vehicles with other individuals as part of their work duties.

OOIDA told the respective leaders that trade and commerce have been impeded since the vaccination mandates have gone into effect.

“Many drivers have elected not to operate cross-border under the new rules, while others continue to experience excessive wait times at border entry points because of the new protocols,” OOIDA wrote. “This has intensified existing challenges facing North American freight networks and the supply chain and has resulted in higher prices for consumers.”

The Association said that putting truck drivers out of work and creating more supply chain disruptions aren’t the best ways to lead the countries through the pandemic.

“We support efforts from your administration to combat the spread of COVID-19, however we cannot endorse short-sighted policies that disrupt commerce, put truckers out of work and create shortages for essential supplies,” OOIDA wrote in the U.S. letter. “Rather than imposing a heavy-handed mandate on the trucking workforce who has delivered time and time again for both U.S. and Canadian citizens, your administration must find less intrusive alternatives that can enhance public safety and foster trade between the U.S. and Canada.” LL