This story, including the headline, has undergone a major update as of late January 13.

The Canadian government says news reports that it had backed off its plan to require cross-border truck drivers be vaccinated for COVID-19 as of Saturday, January 15 are incorrect.

Several media outlets published stories late Wednesday and early Thursday quoting a Canadian Border Services Agency spokesperson who said truckers who are not fully vaccinated would still be exempt from quarantining upon returning to Canada after the Saturday deadline.

“The information shared yesterday was provided in error,” says a statement issued by the federal health, public safety and transport ministers late Thursday.

“As announced in November and as we’ve communicated with the industry recently, starting January 15, unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering Canada will need to meet requirements for pre-entry, arrival and Day 8 testing, as well as quarantine requirements,” reads the statement from Ministers Jean-Yves Duclos, Marco Mendicino, and Omar Alghabra.

While Canadian truck drivers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon entering Canada, the government says drivers from other countries will be directed back to the U.S. as of Saturday.

The Canadian cross-border requirements are set to take effect one week before the United States’ January 22 vaccination mandate for all foreign nationals, including Canadians, entering the country.

The Canadian government has also proposed a separate domestic vaccination mandate for federally-regulated workplaces, which could apply to truck drivers who drive domestically. No date has been set for implementation, however the Canadian Trucking Alliance told RealAgriculture it was expecting the domestic mandate would be implemented before the end of January 2022.

The looming mandates have already caused cross-border freight rates to rise in anticipation of thousands of truckers potentially being unable to cross the Canada-U.S. border.

As of Thursday morning, 66 per cent of voters in a RealAgriculture poll said that the Canadian government should delay the vaccine mandate, while 28 per cent said no to postponing it, and 6 per cent said to delay, but with a new deadline for vaccination.

More to come.

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