The vehicle blockades spreading across border points and highways throughout the country are costing shippers and retailers “significant losses,” according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the country’s largest association representing the nation’s motor carriers.
“The patience of drivers and the vast majority of the trucking industry regarding these blockades has long-since expired. The trucking industry and its drivers are paying a heavy price for the unlawful actions of those who choose to politicize and target our borders and highways and choke off trade between Canada and the United States. Their actions simply hurt Canadians and they have shown a blatant disregard for all the lives they are impacting,” says Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
Laskowski says all Canadians have the right to peaceful protests but he doesn’t consider the individuals engaged in preventing vehicles from crossing into Canada and the United States as “peaceful protestors” as that term should not be applied to activities preventing the flow of essential goods by those who have illegally seized control and impede access to public infrastructure.
Drivers who are simply trying to make a living and get home to their families have been stuck at blocked border crossings for four to eight hours, many of whom have gone without access to washrooms or food, the Canadian Trucking Alliance points out.
“Many of those who are protesting having their lives disrupted by certain policies are, in turn, ironically disrupting the lives of their fellow Canadians,” says Laskowski. “Whether it’s the dedicated truck driver who’s stuck at the border and unable to get home to his or her family; or the factory worker who is sent home from work because critical products and raw materials aren’t being delivered, the only people who these blockades hurt are the hard-working Canadians who have kept our nation moving,” says Laskowski.
“This is simply not sustainable for the industry, its customers, and ultimately, the consumer.”
The Canadian Trucking Alliance is calling on all levels of government across Canada to put an action plan in place to end current blockades and prevent future disruptions at our nation’s ports of entry and the critical road infrastructure leading to critical trade arteries. Earlier this week it joined with provincial trucking associations, shipper groups and manufacturing groups to denounce the border blockades and demand an immediate end to them.
Laskowski also points out the vast majority of the Canadian trucking industry is vaccinated “with the overall industry vaccination rate among truck drivers closely mirroring that of the general public.” Accordingly, most truck drivers are continuing to move cross-border and domestic freight to ensure our economy continues to function.
“The Government of Canada and the United States have now made being vaccinated a requirement to cross the border. This regulation is not changing so, as an industry, we must adapt and comply with this mandate,” Stephen Laskowski says. “The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated.”