Transport trucks approach the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Only days before Canadian truck drivers were required to be fully vaccinated to get into the country or face quarantine, the federal government is backing away from the vaccine mandate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

Transport trucks approach the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Only days before Canadian truck drivers were required to be fully vaccinated to get into the country or face quarantine, the federal government is backing away from the vaccine mandate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

Ottawa to go ahead with trucker vaccine mandate after stating it would scrap it

American drivers will be turned away at the border unless they’ve been inoculated

The federal government says the vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the United States will come into effect this Saturday as planned, despite a previous statement from the Canada Border Services Agency that said Canadian truck drivers would be exempt.

In a release today, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos along with the transport and public safety ministers say the CBSA statement from Wednesday evening was “provided in error,” and that Canadian truckers must be vaccinated if they want to avoid quarantine and a pre-arrival molecular test, starting this weekend.

The cabinet ministers say unvaccinated American big-riggers will be turned back at the border, with the U.S. preparing to impose similar restrictions on Canadian truckers on Jan. 22.

Government representatives offered no explanation for the incorrect information emailed to media more than 20 hours earlier.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations say up to 26,000 of the 160,000 drivers who make regular cross-border trips will be sidelined as a result of the mandate, adding further bottlenecks and potential price hikes to the flow of goods ranging from food to medical devices.

The federal Conservatives, as well as trade groups representing oil, manufacturing and export companies, called on Ottawa this week to postpone the Jan. 15 deadline, which was announced in mid-November.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: ‘It’s very freeing:’ Quarantine rules ease for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers

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