Trucking vaccine mandate will have negative impact: U of M prof

A federal mandate that comes into effect Saturday means Canada will require all truckers entering from the United States to show proof of vaccination as part of the country’s fight against COVID-19.

The move, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), could push an estimated 10 per cent of cross-border drivers — potentially as many as 16,000 — off the roads.

It’s a mandate that has a University of Manitoba professor who studies supply chain management scratching his head.

“You can be certain (the mandate is) not going to lower prices or increase trade,” Barry Prentice told 680 CJOB.

“This is a negative impact — there’s no way of sugarcoating that — and we already do have a shortage of drivers and very high rates. So you have to question, what’s the driver behind this? Where’s the risk assessment that’s gone into deciding this should be done?”

Prentice, a former director of the Transport Institute, said he’s not clear on the balance between the effect on the economy and the risk to the Canadian public.

“The closest thing I can come up with is that there must be some view of inequity between the various modes of transport.

“Air and rail are certainly subject to having everyone vaccinated, and trucking has been exempted, so maybe there’s the feeling that everybody should be the same.

“I would argue that they’re not all the same. I know truckers that have gone down to the States and they’re not even allowed to get out of their truck. So how many people are they actually interacting with? And how many people with COVID symptoms are going to want to be driving anywhere?”

Prentice said that despite the potential for a number of drivers to be held off the road by the mandate, and the potential negative impact on rates and competition, large numbers of Canadian trucks will still be crossing the border beyond Saturday.

 “There’s still going to be trade, there’s still 90 per cent activity, so we shouldn’t panic on this,” he said.

“But we should really ask the question: … Is this just something that’s being done because it seems like a good idea and it’s consistent with other mandates? Or is there a real risk the Canadian public faces?”

-GlobalNews

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