Vaccine mandate at Canadian border could cost consumers

"Ultimately, it’s the consumer that pays for this."

The Roseau–South Junction border crossing on the border of Minnesota and Canada. (Lorie Shaull/Flickr)

(The Center Square) — A new requirement for truck drivers coming from Canada to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could add to supply chain challenges for everything from cars to fruit.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance said it could effect more than 12,000 drivers who cross the border daily.

“Based on surveys done by the Alliance, and national vaccination averages, CTA believes this will result in a 10-15% exit rate of the 120,000 truck drivers currently crossing the border,” the group said.

The organization said it is working with its counterparts in the U.S. before the vaccination mandate goes into effect.

“CTA continues to work with the American Trucking Associations and CBP regarding enforcement details of the U.S. mandate coming into effect on January 22,” the group said.

It discouraged protests on public roads.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance does not support and strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways and bridges,” the group said in a statement. “CTA believes such actions — especially those that interfere with public safety — are not how disagreement with government policies should be expressed.”

Rather, it encouraged people to participate in organized, lawful protests.

“Members of the trucking industry who want to publicly express displeasure over government policies can choose to hold an organized, lawful event on Parliament Hill and not disrupt the traveling public,” it said.

The U.S. mandate was announced in October 2021. Last week, Canada’s policy prohibiting unvaccinated truckers from crossing into Canada from the U.S. went into effect.

The rules could further hamper the supply chain for a number of industries, including the auto industry.

“I would be surprised if there are any (U.S.) cars that don’t have at least one Canadian-based part,” Doug Betts, president of the global automotive division at J.D. Power, told NBC.

“Canada is a pretty important part of auto manufacturing,” Betts said. “Any part that doesn’t arrive or if there’s something wrong with it, you can’t build it. There’s more points of failure.”

Consumers could take the hit.

“Ultimately, it’s the consumer that pays for this,” George Pitsikoulis, president and CEO of Montreal-based distributor Canadawide Fruits, told the National Post.