Truckers split on new rules for drivers crossing into Canada

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:21 PM EST
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Monday was the third day Canada required truck drivers to be vaccinated to cross the border from the U.S. So how do truck drivers feel about the new requirement? Our Melissa Cooney talked to truckers parked in St. Albans to find out.

“It’s been a problem for the last two years and it’s not getting any better,” said Brian Brooker, a truck driver for Richard Green Trucking, a company based in Enosburg Falls.

Green stopped in St. Albans Monday before he delivered liquid butter to Canada.

He says he supports a vaccine requirement for American truckers crossing the border.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Green said. “Everyone shuld be vaccinated. I got it and I think anybody crossing the border either way should have it.”

The change in guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which became effective on Jan. 15, states: “Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign national truck drivers, coming to Canada from the U.S. by land, will be directed back to the United States.”

Canadian truck drivers will still be granted entry-- even if they’re unvaccinated-- as long as they pass Canadian COVID border requirements.

“I agree with it. It’s saving people’s lives,” said James Richardson, a trucker with CO Lines.

Richardson says he doesn’t need to cross the border, but notes vaccinations have been a topic of conversation among truck drivers.

“I’ve had conversations with drivers before and some want it, some don’t. It’s 50-50 probably,” Richardson said.

While some truck drivers support a vaccine requirement to cross the border, others think it should be a choice.

“You shouldn’t have to be vaccinated to deliver a load. This is my livelihood, I shouldn’t have to be vaccinated to deliver a load,” said Jemuan Hill with Prime Inc., who was delivering palm oil to Vermont on Monday.

Hill says he’s not vaccinated. While he tends to not cross the border, this requirement would be a deal-breaker.

Reporter Melissa Cooney: If you were crossing the border, would you figure something out?

Jemuan Hill: I just wouldn’t take the load. It’s that simple.

James Jackson of Triton, who delivered beer to Vermont Monday, says he hasn’t crossed the border in a while. He says he’s not vaccinated yet but is coming around to the idea.

“Just because I changed how I feel about the vaccine itself, I still don’t think it should be pushed on anyone because we don’t know a whole lot about it yet,” Jackson said.

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