OOIDA asks Biden to end vaccine mandate at US border

Dive Brief:

  • The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is pushing for the U.S. to lift COVID-19 restrictions on cross-border travel, after Canada announced this week it would end its vaccine mandate beginning Oct. 1.
  • The group asked President Joe Biden in a letter Monday to end the U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for non-U.S. citizens entering the country at the Mexico and Canada borders. OOIDA President Todd Spencer said the mandate has created more paperwork and pushed some trucking companies to rethink operations.
  • “Truckers already face difficult working conditions and must comply with an enormous regulatory burden,” Spencer said. “The United States’ cross-border vaccine mandate adds another unnecessary obstacle for them.”

Dive Insight:

OOIDA fired off the letter to Biden on Monday, the same day Canada’s government announced the “removal of all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada,” effective Oct. 1.

U.S. truck drivers had to be fully vaccinated as of Jan. 15 to enter Canada, and they were required to use the ArriveCAN app to provide proof of vaccination and other travel information.

The trucking industry has generally pushed back against COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Drivers protested against the requirements and companies and trucking associations argued there is little risk of truckers spreading the virus because they spend most of their time alone in their vehicles.

“There is no evidence that truckers have been the source of any coronavirus outbreaks within the United States, suggesting that the cross-border mandate is likely to be having little, if any, effect,” the OOIDA letter read.

The American Trucking Associations has also advocated for an end to the mandates.

“While we wish the governments moved together on this policy, we are very pleased Canada made the change and we are hopeful that the U.S. will follow in the not-too-distant future,” Bob Costello, ATA chief economist and senior vice president of international trade policy and cross-border operations, said in a statement to Transport Dive on Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, a New York Democrat whose district covers areas near Canada’s border, asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to lift the cross-border vaccine mandate in a letter Wednesday.

“The end of restrictions is overdue,” Higgins said in a statement. “Canada’s decision is the right one. The U.S. should follow immediately.”