Senators request vaccine mandate exemption for cross-border truckers

December 14, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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Fourteen U.S. senators want truck drivers from the United States and Canada to cross the border without being subject to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Last week, 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.

The United States and Canada have both announced policies beginning in January that will require foreign truck drivers to show proof of vaccination before crossing the border. Canada’s mandate is set to take effect Jan. 15, while the U.S. mandate is set for Jan. 22.

“Despite the good intentions underpinning this action, we fear that the imposition of vaccine mandates as a requirement to cross the land border will exacerbate the existing challenges facing our freight networks and supply chain and could further fuel inflation and rising prices on top of what Americans are already seeing,” the senators wrote. “Our nation’s truck drivers worked diligently during the pandemic to facilitate critical cross-border freight movements that helped to feed and clothe American communities. Now, implementing these policies could cost them their jobs.”

The senators noted that neither country has imposed such a requirement on solo truck drivers operating domestically and asked the countries to work together on a policy that exempts truckers crossing the border.

“We urge your administration to reengage our northern neighbor and leading export partner to establish a reciprocal policy for cross-border truck drivers that does not include a vaccine mandate and will not disrupt the North American supply chain,” the senators wrote.

In addition to Daines, the letter was signed by:

  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
  • Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.
  • Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.
  • Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
  • Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.
  • Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.
  • Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
  • Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
  • Sen. James E. Risch, R-Idaho
  • Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
  • Sen. Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance also is speaking out against the mandates. The group says the mandates would “put an even bigger strain on an already beleaguered supply chain” and is asking Ottawa and Washington and all members of the supply chain to consider “a more suitable policy.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has said that all truck drivers should be exempt from vaccine mandates. LL

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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.