The Ontario Trucking Association joined the Canadian Trucking Alliance is commending the Federal Government’s declaration that commercial truck drivers are essential workers who will be exempt from the requirement to self-isolate for at least 14 days upon entering Canada from abroad.
Speaking at a press conference, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said certain kinds of workers – such as truck drivers, train and air crews and others whose professions require cross-border travel to the U.S. in order to maintain trade and deliver essential products to Canadians – will be exempted from the condition to self-isolate as the government attempts to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair reinforced the importance of exempting essential transportation workers from the protocol if they are asymptomatic. “We believe the risk of essential workers crossing the border can be managed effectively,” he said. “For the purposes of not just their own employment but also to keep Canada moving, essential workers need to be able to keep moving across the border.”
Garneau and Blair said that if any traveller is exhibiting symptoms of the virus, whether they are exempted or not, that individual will be referred to public health officials and directed to self-quarantine.
Canadian Trucking Alliance president Stephen Laskowski said the trucking industry supports the Government of Canada and all provinces in every way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, while also applauding Ottawa’s recognition that truck drivers are indispensable workers who are critical in the fight against stemming the spread of the disease and getting essential supplies to Canadians who need them.
“Each and every time they’ve been needed, Canada’s truck drivers have always answered the call in an emergency,” said Laskowski. “These are unprecedented times for Canadians. I have no doubt that, as front-line essential workers, our nation’s truck drivers will do what is required to keep Canada moving and keep Canadians safe.”
Meanwhile, for truck drivers entering the U.S., CTA has confirmed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that it will be business as usual, unless a U.S-bound driver has returned from a “hot spot” country within the last 14 days. If a truck driver returning from one of the countries listed in president Trump’s recent Executive Order, attempts to cross a border within 14 days, they will be denied entry into the U.S. Officials on both sides of the border have indicated that additional scrutiny and questioning of drivers will occur, but they will attempt to prioritize the efficient movement of truck drivers and goods as much as possible moving forward.
In Ontario, the Ontario Trucking Association also applauded Premier Doug Ford’s support that borders must remain open to commercial traffic as well as his call for calm and urging the public not to “panic buy”, which will assist the entire supply chain.
CTA will be working with border officials on creating a best practices document on how to safely interact and communicate at the border to ensure both truck drivers and border officers remain safe. For any border crossing issues related to COVID-19, please reach out to [email protected].
Additionally, CTA will be distributing a separate document helping the trucking industry manage the interaction between carriers and drivers, shippers and another supply chain workers. Anyone who has best practices tips that would be helpful in the document should send their recommendations to [email protected].