The President of Private Motor Truck Council of Canada warns that the vaccine requirement for truckers crossing the US/Canada border has the potential to result in a devastating economic collapse.
An estimated 30,000 truckers that deliver goods and services between the US/Canada border have not yet submitted their vaccination paperwork. Beginning January 15, truckers will be required to show proof of vaccination upon entering Canada. The same mandate for truckers entering the United States from Canada goes into effect on January 22.
When the coronavirus pandemic began nearly two years ago, the Trump administration made land/border crossings essential. However, the Biden administration's mandate issued by the Department of Homeland Security trumps the former president's.
Mike Milliam, the President of Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, told Lynnwood Times that the mandate will add to the shortages we are already experiencing and will cause significant long-lasting damage.
"70 percent of the 700 billion in trade between Canada and the U.S. is moved by truck," Milliam said. "This will have a dramatic effect on supplies and services reaching their destination and getting in the hands of those who need them. One needs to look no further than the recent U.K. fuel shortage, where the military had to be brought in to deliver fuel as a result of a lack of truck drivers. We are already seeing shortages, if these shortages reach critical levels on items such as fuel, food, blood medicine or medical supplies, we will see real, long-lasting damage."
According to data reported by Lynnwood Times, around 120,000 Canadian truck drivers enter the US daily while 40,000 US truckers enter into Canada. The majority of the cargo being transported consists of essential items like medical supplies, blood, food, and fuel.
"We understand the governments are putting these mandates in place in order to protect our health," Milliam said. "If we start seeing shortages of medical supplies in our hospitals because we've mandated drivers to get vaccinated, how much is that going to effect people's health? The idea may be good in one direction but I don't think we've really looked at its effects on health and safety on the other side."
Milliam warned that the mandate could elimintate 25 percent of the workforce.
"We've already had a shortage of driver positions before we brought in any vaccine mandates and on top of that, we've got supply chain issues to begin with. We can usually go to the grocery store now and see at least one item that's not on the shelf but once we wipe out 25 percent of the workforce, I think it's going to become a very common case,” Milliam told the Lynnwood Times.
Despite warning both the US and Canadian governments about the drastic economic impact to come from the mandates, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada said in a press release that their warnings didn't sway their positions.
"Since this policy was first raised in government circles, we have constantly communicated the environment that this mandate would create. We had hoped that both U.S. and Canadian officials would recognize the effects this rule would have on our industry's capacity levels. Unfortunately, at this point neither the Canadian nor U.S. officials have changed their position on this matter," the PMTC wrote.
As for the United States, the American Trucking Association urged the Biden administration to rescind the mandate and explained that the majority of truckers spend their days alone.
"Throughout the pandemic, they've proven to operate safely following existing CDC and OSHA guidelines. Our data shows the infection rate of employee drivers was 8.7% – well below the national infection rate," The American Trucking Association(ATA) stated in a news release.
To visualize the impact, nearly one trillion dollars worth of goods and services are transported through the US/Canada border each year.