The Government of Canada has recently announced that it is extending current border measures for travellers— including truck drivers— entering Canada until at least September 30, 2022.
Mandatory random testing will continue at land border points of entry, with no changes. Travellers who do not qualify as fully vaccinated, unless exempt, will continue to test on Day 1 and Day 8 of their 14-day quarantine. Please continue to use ArriveCAN (via the free mobile app or website) to provide mandatory travel information within 72 hours before your arrival in Canada.
Visit the Government of Canada website for the complete Public Health Agency of Canada news release.
Border Vaccine Mandate- What you Need to Know
Jan 15, 2022
As of January 22, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will require all Canadian drivers entering the United States for essential or non-essential reasons to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination.
Non-US individuals must verbally attest to their COVID-19 vaccination status and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has confirmed that carrying paper documents, whether provincial or pan-Canadian, is acceptable. Digital documents stored electronically, such as on a personal phone, will also be accepted.
If a driver arrives at the US border and is not in compliance with the mandate, or cannot provide proof of vaccination when requested, they could be subject to the following actions:
The withdrawal of admission or the refusal of entry into the US, including having their truck returned to Canada;
An appearance before an immigration judge in court, leading to penalties, including deportation or being barred from entry into the US permanently.
DHS has compiled a FAQ document that contains further guidance for travelers entering the US including what vaccinations are accepted and additional CDC resources.
Please expect wait times at US land border crossings to increase as travellers become accustomed to the new requirements, however CBP officials have stated that their intent is to ensure that ports of entry are not congested with traffic.
As of January 15, 2022, Canada is enforcing a vaccine mandate for cross-border commercial drivers by requiring proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 through the ArriveCAN app.
Government of Canada officials have provided guidance on initial enforcement details which include:
For an undetermined amount of time, drivers arriving at the border that have not submitted their data via ArriveCAN, may present paper documentation. This includes provincial or pan-Canadian proof of vaccination documents
The use of paper documentation may lead to delays when crossing the border and will only be available for a limited amount of time
The Government of Canada will continue to promote an education-first approach to the mandate unless egregious acts of noncompliance pertaining to health/border measures occur. The definition of these acts will be determined by border and public health officers at the border
Only a single submission is required to meet compliance, including the use of a single reusable receipt for crossing the border. This receipt will remain valid for an indefinite period
If a truck driver crosses the border for non-essential purposes, they will be required to resubmit their ArriveCAN information prior to re-entry into Canada for work related purposes
Drivers can also use the “Saved Traveller Profile” and submit ArriveCAN up to 72 hours prior to crossing the border, by using the online web version of the platform. Details on how to use ArriveCAN have been made available by the Government of Canada
Both pan-Canadian and provincial documentation are accepted by ArriveCAN, but that pan-Canadian documentation will automatically be on file if the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is required to refer/verify proof of vaccination information, or when deemed necessary by a border officer
For Unvaccinated Drivers Dispatched to the US and unable to return prior to January 15:
Unvaccinated truck drivers arriving at the Canadian border starting January 15 will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Canada. No Canadian driver will be denied entry into the country
Unvaccinated drivers will need to submit a quarantine plan using ArriveCAN. If this is not possible, they should have details of a suitable plan available, or be able to produce it verbally when requested upon entry. More information regarding quarantine plans can be found here
Drivers will also be required to meet all admissibility requirements, including 8-day testing requirements, and obtaining a PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival, but discretion will be used by officers regarding PCR testing;
Although border officials maintain the ability to issues fines/penalties, the government recognizes this is a transition period and does not expect fines/penalties to be issued initially to unvaccinated drivers.
When an unvaccinated Canadian driver enters Canada after being issued a quarantine order, the following must occur:
If an unvaccinated truck driver returns to Canada with a shipment, they will be required to complete their commercial movement and then head directly to their address as indicated on their quarantine plan. No other pickups/drop-offs will be permitted once they enter the country. The repositioning of an empty trailer while on route to their quarantine location will be permissible
The driver must follow all public health measures and ensure that they isolate as much as possible until they reach their quarantine location
The period spent in their truck while completing this commercial movement, will count towards their 14-day quarantine period
Officials have clarified that a suitable place of quarantine does not include the cab of a truck and must be done at a verifiable address. Follow-up actions will be taken by enforcement officials to ensure that the driver is quarantining as required
Due to potential technology issues that could arise by using electronic platforms, officials also recommended that paper copies or evidence of full vaccination be kept in-cab, or via your mobile device as an image to ensure redundancy/backup if requested upon arrival at a port of entry.
Border officials will be accepting medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination from Canadian drivers if they have obtained authorized documentation from their home province to meet admissibility requirements.
The Government of Canada also confirmed that US drivers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated will have their trucks returned to the US once the mandate comes into force. A US driver can also qualify for a medical exemption to the mandate if they are able to present a Centre for Disease Control (CDC) exemption card for entry into Canada.
For BCTA’s advocacy efforts regarding the vaccination mandate for our industry, click here.