A national truckers for Freedom Convoy in Canada is headed toward the nation’s capital of Ottawa to stop “political over reach” in implementing a vaccine mandate that threatens the trucking industry, impacting both Canada and the U.S.
Many Canadian truck drivers are participating due to a January 15 deadline that forces unvaccinated drivers to observe a two-week quarantine and COVID-19 test before crossing into Canada from the U.S.
The U.S. also implemented new restrictions starting January 22 that will require non-U.S. individuals entering the nation at the Canadian border to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
NEW: Beginning Saturday, January 22, DHS will require non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the U.S, via land ports of entry and ferry terminals at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders to be fully vaccinated for #COVID19 and provide related proof of vaccination.
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) January 20, 2022
“Our current government is implementing rules and mandates that are destroying the foundation of our businesses, industries and livelihoods. Canadians have been integral to the fabric of humanity in many ways that have shaped the planet,” organizers said in a statement alongside a GoFundMe initiative.
“We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here. We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our Federal Government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people. Small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed, and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive,” the organizers added.
The fundraiser quickly raised $4.2 million from more than 55,000 donors. GoFundMe later froze the funds, according to a Canadian Press report.
“We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent. In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information,” Rachel Hollis, a spokeswoman for the crowdfunding platform, told the outlet.
“Funds will be safely held until the organizer is able to provide the documentation to our team about how funds will be properly distributed,” the email added.
The Canadian Trucking Association, which has spoken against the convoy protest, says more than 85% of the 120,000 Canadian truck drivers who regularly cross the border are vaccinated, but that up to 16,000 may be sidelined due to the new restriction, exacerbating supply chain problems, according to the Canadian Press report.
Atlantic Canadian Trucking Association Strongly Disapproves of Trucking Convoy to Ottawa https://t.co/5aaYKaxy5X
— CTA (@CanTruck) January 25, 2022
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has urged the government to extend an exemption that had been in place for truckers, according to a Reuters report.
“Common sense tells us that we are at the peak of supply chain constraints across North America, around the world, huge inflation,” Kenney said.
Day One of a convoy from Canada’s west coast has shared footage online that has gone unreported across much of mainstream media.
Trucking and logistics groups in both nations have expressed concerns regarding the impact the trucking vaccine mandate will have on supply chain issues.
“Americans are struggling with higher prices and scarce goods, at the grocery store, the gas pump, and diners across the country,” Transportation Intermediaries Association President and CEO Anne Reinke said, according to Trucking Info.
“One way to make this drastically worse overnight is to take tens of thousands of truck drivers and forbid them from entering the country, leaving countless amounts of essential freight at the doorstep of our country,” she added.