February 17, 2022
A government order from Health Canada reportedly states that unvaccinated truck drivers are exempt from border testing and quarantine requirements, but only if they are hauling COVID-19 vaccines or similar pandemic-related items.
According to CTV News, the exemption ensures supplies that are an “urgent public health necessity” can get into the country as fast as possible, no matter the vaccination status of the driver transporting them.
Without this exemption, all truck drivers who are unvaccinated must undergo pre-arrival testing, quarantine and molecular testing in to enter or return to Canada via land.
According to Health Canada, this exemption has been “rarely used” so far and it requires a ministerial invitation to come into effect.
A spokesperson confirmed that it has been used before though, for example, to help with the supply of ventilators.
Cargo that could potentially qualify unvaccinated truckers for this exemption including transporting goods like COVID-19 vaccines, drugs, ventilators and similar essential medical products that are both needed and recognized in Canada.
Medical devices are also reportedly covered, although the agency didn’t confirm whether masks, gowns or COVID-19 tests counted.
It’s one of several exemptions set out in an order-in-council published in January, outlining decisions made by cabinet.
“The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that those involved in commercial transport who are transporting medically necessary supplies remain exempt from the vaccination requirement to enter Canada,” the spokesperson explained, per CTV.
COVID-19 mandates for Canadian truck drivers have been a controversial topic across the nation over the last two months in particular. The Freedom Convoy —a protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other government-imposed public health measures — was precipitated by mandatory vaccination rules for truckers at the Canada-U.S. land border.