'Chaos and confusion': Government error on trucker vaccine mandate sparks disarray

'Chaos and confusion'

The head of a Canadian trucking organization says botched messaging from the federal government is wreaking havoc among the transport community, and could choke already strained supply chains.

The Canada Border Services Agency said Wednesday that a vaccine mandate for truckers crossing into Canada from the United States would not come into effect tomorrow as planned, but the government backtracked the next day, clarifying that the rule would go into force Saturday after all.

Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, says numerous drivers — some unvaccinated — were dispatched during the 20-hour window in which the erroneous announcement spread through the sector.

In a phone interview, he described a state of "drivers panicking" amid the "chaos and confusion" unleashed by inaccurate communications, with unvaccinated drivers south of the border now subject to a two-week quarantine upon return.

Millian says government officials told industry representatives in a virtual meeting this afternoon that border officers will be encouraged to use "discretion" when deciding whether to fine big-riggers who weren't able to complete a pre-arrival COVID-19 test.

The federal Conservatives and trade groups representing oil, manufacturing and export companies have called for a delay to the trucker vaccine mandate, while health professionals are encouraging vaccine mandates across sectors in the long term.

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