‘Freedom convoy’ heads for Ottawa as some truckers oppose government’s vaccination mandate

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Although vaccinated, Wasaga Beach trucker says he understands where protesters are coming from

A quick sample of transport truck drivers passing through Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday showed differing opinions on the federal government’s mandate regarding the COVID-19 vaccine for cross-border truckers.

Hundreds of BC truckers began heading east on Sunday in a ‘freedom convoy’ to Ottawa to protest the vaccine mandate, planning to arrive in the nation’s capital and meet with other truckers in Eastern Canada and Southern Ontario on January 29.

Although vaccinated, a Sault trucker who asked not to be identified said, “I totally support them, that’s for sure. I am against it being mandatory. You have people of different religions in our industry (who oppose mandatory vaccination against COVID-19). People shouldn’t have to.

“I understand where they are coming from not wanting to get vaccinated, not wanting to impose the vaccine, especially for truckers. Truckers live off their trucks most of the time. They’re not really a serious health risk,” said Cale Callan, a Wasaga Beach-based independent trucker, though he said he was personally vaccinated.

“I have mine. I have two. Everyone thinks they are doctors and scientists. You have to trust the people who make these decisions. I am for the vaccine,” said trucker Marcel Tremblay of Sarnia.

“I think it should be the choice of an individual, not the government. Everyone should be responsible only for their own health. Whoever needs it, so get it. Truckers are alone most of the time. I have the vaccine, but there are not enough studies on it, ”said Calgary trucker Barem Singh.

The government’s mandate came into effect on January 15.

Canadian truckers must present proof of vaccination to avoid taking COVID-19 tests before reaching the border. They will also have to be quarantined upon their return from the United States.

Unvaccinated US truckers will not be permitted entry.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CAC) said there were reports of truckers intending to leave the industry or work in provincially regulated trucking due to the federal government’s vaccination mandate on cross-border truckers.

The CTA said the industry expects a loss of 12,000 to 16,000 cross-border commercial drivers due to this month’s mandate.

At the same time, the CTA states that “the vast majority of the Canadian trucking industry is vaccinated, with the industry’s overall vaccination rate among truckers closely mirroring that of the general public. Therefore, most truckers in our country continue to transport cross-border and domestic goods to keep our economy running smoothly.

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