© 2022 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Business and Economy
The Rural Maine Reporting Project is made possible through the generous support of the Betterment Fund.

Canadian truckers urge Maine to drop a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers

Virus Outbreak US Canada Border
Jeffrey T. Barnes
Trucks cross the Peace Bridge Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Buffalo N.Y., President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to close the U.S Canada border to non-Essential travel in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but trade will not be affected.

A convoy of Canadian truckers has been rallying in Ottawa this week, urging the government to drop a requirement that cross border truckers show proof of vaccination. Critics say the new rule will strain the supply chain, drive up inflation and create a truck driver shortage. In Maine, The Motor Transport Association surveyed its members and found that of those companies responding, 60% of their drivers are not vaccinated.

Association President Brian Parke says the group is asking Maine's Congressional delegation to seek an exemption. Parke says early in the pandemic truckers were heroes, and now they can't do their jobs.

"They were out there delivering everything America needed when Americans were locked down in their homes," Parke says. "We didn't have vaccines, PPE, and these same drivers now cannot deliver the same goods across the border. It makes no sense."

Parke says the 80,000 trucking jobs are open across the nation right now. And he says the situation will get worse as the aging trucking workforce begins to retire in the coming years.