Senators raise concern over cross-border vaccine mandate for truckers

Fourteen U.S. Senators on Dec. 10 penned a letter to President Joe Biden asking the administration to work with Canada to exempt truck drivers from cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandates that are set to take effect in both countries in January.

The compliance date for American drivers entering Canada is January 15, 2022. The expected compliance date for Canadian drivers entering the U.S. is January 22, 2022, though that has not yet been formally announced. 

“In the coming weeks, both the U.S. and Canada intend to implement vaccination requirements on foreign truck drivers,” the Senators wrote. “Despite the good intentions underpinning this action, we fear that the imposition of vaccination mandates as a requirement to cross the land border will exacerbate the existing challenges facing our freight networks and supply chain, and could further fuel inflation and rising prices on top of what Americans are already seeing. Our nation’s truck drivers worked diligently during the pandemic to facilitate critical cross-border freight movements that helped to feed and clothe American communities. Now, implementing these policies could cost them their jobs.”

The Senators noted that while both countries intend to enact the mandate on foreign truck drivers, “neither country has imposed such a requirement on solo truck drivers who operate domestically.”

Because of truck drivers’ “essential” status as classified in March 2020 by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Senators urged the Biden Administration to “reengage our northern neighbor and leading export partner to establish a reciprocal policy for cross-border truck drivers that does not include a vaccine mandate and will not disrupt the North American supply chain.”

Senators who signed the letter include: Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana); Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota); James Risch (R-Idaho); Mike Crapo (R-Idaho); John Hoeven (R-North Dakota); Roger Marshall (R-Kansas); John Thune (R-South Dakota); Mike Braun (R-Indiana); Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming); Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania); Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi); Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee); Susan Collins (R-Maine); and Jerry Moran (R-Kansas).