CME calls for trucker vaccine delay

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is calling on the Canadian and U.S. governments to delay vaccine mandates for cross-border trucking slated to take effect in January 2022.

Manufacturers on both sides of the border are extremely concerned that proceeding with these measures will threaten integrated North American production and dramatically worsen current supply chain disruptions.

They believe that postponing the implementation of the vaccine mandate and increasing efforts to vaccinate essential cross-border transportation workers should be the focus of the Canadian and U.S. governments.

“Manufacturers are strong supporters of vaccinating all American and Canadian citizens, and that includes truckers. However, a vaccine mandate for truckers, at this time, will sideline one fifth of that workforce, make the trucking labour shortage go from bad to worse, and do severe damage to already struggling supply chains. CME urges the Canadian and US government to hit the pause button before it is too late,” said Dennis Darby, president and CEO of CME.

Canadian manufacturers rely on cross-border trucking to get key materials into their plants, to maintain integrated North American manufacturing, and to ship their goods to the U.S. market. The trucking industry moves close to 70 percent of the $648 billion Canada-US trade. This includes Canada’s food supply and critical goods.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that a vaccine mandate would result in 10 percent to 20 percent of their workers being unable to do cross-border trips. As a result, manufacturers would be unable to maintain their supply chains and production will slow or stop across the country.

CME echoes the calls of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which is asking for a delay in implementing this vaccine mandate and to help the trucking industry vaccinate its workforce and provide testing options for workers who are not yet vaccinated.

“Canadian manufacturing is already struggling with labour shortages and massive supply chain disruptions. Reducing North America’s cross-border trucking workforce by almost one fifth will do a lot of damage to our sector at a time when we can least afford it. We urge both governments to consider the impacts on our sector, the economy, and on consumers that not delaying this mandate will have,” concluded Darby.