Ottawa clarifies truckers are not exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Ottawa clarifies truckers are not exempt from COVID-19 vaccine mandate
Canadian Border Service Agency

OTTAWA — The government has issued an order in council clarifying that truckers are not exempt from a vaccine mandate after bureaucrats were confused by their own policy.

The Canada Border Services Agency created widespread confusion last month after it issued a statement to media saying that unvaccinated truckers would remain exempt from quarantine and testing requirements after entering the country at the Canada-U.S. border.

The federal government said the next day the statement had been sent in error, but not before some unvaccinated big-riggers had already been dispatched across the border.

The Canadian Press later revealed the confusion stemmed from bureaucrats misinterpreting policy at both the border services agency and the Public Health Agency of Canada, including whether an order in council, which sets out decisions made by cabinet, covered truckers or not.

READ MORE: Truckers should have done more to prepare for vaccine mandate, experts say

The government this week issued another order in council to “clarify” that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated truckers are not exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate when entering Canada, except if they are delivering medically necessary supplies and equipment.

The order also says residents of the French territory of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, which are islands south of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be exempt from vaccine mandates if travelling to Canada for medical care within four days of arrival.

The Public Health Agency said the government had extended most of its border measures and made updates to some others. It said they would be in effect until at least the end of February.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2022. 

The Canadian Press

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