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We’ll all feel the impact

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the U.S. came into effect on Saturday, and it will affect everyone. An editorial
COVID truck driver vaccine
A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the U.S. came into effect on Saturday. 

You have to hand it to our federal government. They really found another way to flub their handling of the ongoing pandemic.

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the U.S. came into effect on Saturday. 

Canadian truckers must be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test, while unvaccinated American semi drivers have been turned back at the border. 

We’ll delve into the impact of this later, but part of the botch job came late last week with a miscommunication involving the feds and the Canada Border Services Agency. 

The CBSA said the federal government was backing away from the vaccine mandate, at least for Canadian truckers. Americans would still be turned away if they haven’t had two doses of vaccine.  

The following day, the feds announced there was the miscommunication, and so they weren’t going to backtrack.  

In many cases, you can understand how people get their wires crossed, particularly when it comes to the ever-changing nature of a pandemic. You have all sorts of people trying to answer questions, whether it be a media spokesperson or a federal help line operator, on behalf of policy makers. One person misspeaks, things start to unravel, and the government has a mess on their hands.

But on this issue, it was pretty straightforward: the federal government wasn’t going to back down. By the time the feds issued their correction Friday, people had their hopes up that an unnecessary mandate would be called off. 

The decision to clamp down on unvaccinated truckers comes as we continue to grapple with the supply chain issues that have been rampant since the start of the pandemic, and aren’t correcting themselves, either.  

We’ve seen the shortages on everything from vehicles to office supplies to home electronics and furnishings. There are some pretty noticeable gaps in store shelves and some pretty significant shortages for things that we need. 

Making it harder on truckers to cross the border into Canada to deliver these needed goods isn’t going to alleviate the problem. It’s going to affect everyone from big cities to small towns to farmers.

The head of the Canadian Trucking Alliance says about 10 per cent of the 120,000 Canadian semi-trailer drivers have not been fully vaccinated. That might not seem like a lot, but that’s still thousands of drivers who won’t be able to cross the border and bring needed goods back to Canada.  

And would the percentage of unvaccinated big-riggers making cross-border trips be higher with smaller and medium-sized firms.

We don’t know how extensive the impact will be. But we know there will be an impact on virtually everything. We know that it’ll be harder to get a lot of products into Canada. 

A lot of Canadian food is sent to the U.S. for processing and then returned to Canada, so we’ll feel the pinch there.

And you can be sure that this isn’t going to reduce the inflation that we’ve been encountering in the past few months.  

We’re not going to see a return to the early days of the pandemic, when so many items were scarce at the best of times. But it might be more difficult to find your desired product where you want it, when you want it.

Perhaps the government thought it would make sense to crack down on truck drivers. After all, there have been vaccine requirements on other essential workers. Why not truckers? 

Or maybe they thought that by the time this date rolled around, a greater number of truckers would have the second jab.

Still, it’s questionable as to why the government is imposing a mandate on those who spend so much of their time working alone, isolated from everyone else, and who wear a mask when making a delivery. 

It can’t be that they thought the supply chain issues would be resolved – that won’t happen for a long time to come. 

So now we’re stuck with another impediment in our return to normal, whatever that normal might be. And this impediment is one that will leave its impact on all.  

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