A truck crosses the Bluewater Bridge border crossing between Sarnia, Ont., and Port Huron, Michigan on Sunday August 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins

Vaccine rules for truck drivers entering Canada come into effect

A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the United States is now in effect, raising worries about future disruptions to the supply chain.

As of today Canadian truckers must be vaccinated if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test, while unvaccinated American big-riggers are to be turned back at the border.

Trucking industry groups accused the Canadian government of sparking confusion after the Canada Border Services Agency suggested earlier this week that Ottawa was backtracking on the rules, only to have that information refuted the next day.

The president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance says the application of the mandate could potentially cause some slowdowns at the border in the coming days if unvaccinated truckers have to turn their big rigs around.

But Stephen Lakowski says the bigger concern is over wider impacts on the supply chain caused by driver shortages, which are likely to be felt cumulatively in the coming weeks and months.

The news comes as provinces continue to grapple with rising hospitalizations due to COVID-19, including Ontario which reported nearly 4,000 patients in hospital.