New Restrictions for Cross Border Drivers
Cross border barriers – On Saturday the new rules for Canadian drivers crossing the US/Canada border, which we focused on last week, came into effect. Despite a brief reversal from the CBSA, a reverse reversal by the Trudeau government at the eleventh hour upheld the new rules ensuring that all Canadian truck drivers attempting to return to Canada from the states were vaccinated, less they face a quarantine period that would keep them from work. You can read more about the the issues leading up to the new rule in last weeks blog post HERE
The Fallout: Transportation Protests
One of the expected responses to the new rule was a series of protests from drivers who opposed the new mandate. Drivers took to the roads with signage out and horns honking to signify their disdain for the new health regulations earlier this week. The most prominent protest took place in Manitoba, where several truckers participated in a “slow roll” protest. Their convoy of trucks and support vehicles crawled across major roads in and out of the border crossing, slowing traffic to a near halt. However, a larger protest is starting to gain traction across Canada, accompanied by American support and a GoFundMe campaign, as unvaccinated drivers plan to create a convoy of disgruntled citizens who will be on their way to gather in Ottawa, on parliament hill, later in the week.
The Fallout: Resignations and Incentives for Truckers
A major impact of the new rule was also a wave of resignations from current truck drivers who don’t want to face the new rule when crossing the border. Before the rule came into effect many companies reported drivers leaving in order to dodge the rule and the trend has seemingly continued after the official implementation. Some companies have gone out of their way to combat the new additions to the driver shortage by offering cash bonuses for new vaccinated drivers or offering bonuses to existing unvaccinated drivers if they do choose to get their shots.
Blizzards – Trucking Delays for Canada and the USA Supply Chain
To add to the already strained supply chain, a huge swath of the northeast was covered in snow Sunday night, leading to a whole new batch of delays. South of the border New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania received over a foot of snow which lead to power outages in some cities in the three states.
In Ontario and Quebec, most schools called a snow day on what was supposed to be the first day back to in-person learning this year. Some flights were cancelled due to the conditions at Toronto and Ottawa airports, and many east coast flights were cancelled as the storm continued to make it’s way across the country yesterday. The biggest impact of the storm though was on the roads. Low visibility and roads covered in 25-60 centimetres of snow lead to many accidents, stranded drivers, and roads locked in a standstill.
Some key highways were shutdown in Ontario early on Monday in order for plows to get to work before motorists took to the streets. However, for those routes that were open, most were moving extremely slowly, if at all. Many carriers in Ontario and Quebec decided to “Ground” their fleets in order to avoid the delays, damages and other issues that might come with braving the snow storm. These delays are likely to be felt for the remainder of the week as many shipments that were delayed Monday and Tuesday, get re-booked