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Faced with a growing Omicron case load that threatens to overrun the healthcare system, Ottawa is not backing down on its controversial plan to require all truck drivers entering into Canada from the US to show proof of vaccination starting on Saturday, January 15th.

 Up to this point drivers had been considered essential workers and were exempt from such requirements.

This means job shops waiting for shipments of materials and equipment from the US need to prepare for potential supply chain disruption.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is expecting a loss of 12,000 to 16,000 (10-15 per cent) cross-border commercial drivers if the mandate takes effect. Ottawa estimates five per cent of drivers will be impacted, according to news reports.

“While there’s reportedly a modest uptick of drivers getting vaccinated at some companies, there are substantial reports of higher-than-normal turnover and others declaring their intention to leave the industry or seek employment in the provincially regulated sector over the impending mandate at the border,” said Stephen Laskowski, head of CTA.

Ottawa counters that it’s not expecting significant shortages or disruptions resulting from its vaccination demand for truck drivers.

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