The federal Liberals are scrapping a proposal to require commercial truck drivers to show proof of vaccination when crossing into another province.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Liberal labour minister Seamus O’Regan ruled out the potential policy while being questioned on Wednesday.
“Are we still on with the vaccination mandate for interprovincial truckers?” asked a reporter.
“Interprovincial? No, no. We are listening,” O’Regan answered. “Vaccine mandates are something we continue to listen to stakeholders very keenly with but things change. Public health changes, science changes. Lots of things are changing. It’s very much in flux.”
On December 7, the Trudeau government put forward a proposal to amend the Canada Labour Code and require COVID-19 vaccination for all federally regulated private sector employers, including the transport industry.
Liberal transport minister Omar Alghabra even discussed the potential interprovincial mandate on Jan. 30 – the same weekend the Freedom Convoy arrived in Ottawa – telling CBC’s Rosemary Barton, “(n)o one should be surprised that there is work being done to get us there.”
Business leaders said that the interprovincial rule would result in “guaranteed failure” and tank the supply chain even further.
“Implementation of that rule will set us up for guaranteed failure. The reality is we’re experiencing a significant shortage of trucks and trailers to haul hogs across Canada and the situation is worse than publicly stated,” the chair of the Canadian Pork Council Rick Bergmann told the Commons agriculture committee on Feb. 14.
“We’ve talked with different drivers, different driving businesses, transport companies and so on and they are pulling their hair out. If this in fact happens the problem has gotten much worse.”
Bergmann insisted that such a policy would be “the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
“A mandate on interprovincial trucking would be very devastating to our country, to our business. We have made our position known. We notice that people love eating meat.”
In January, a last-minute Liberla government flip-flop on reversing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers led to nationwide protests, fuelling the Freedom Convoy and other demonstrations that continued for nearly a month.
The convoy movement, which eventually called for an end to all COVID-19 restrictions and mandates across the country, gathered support around the world.