(With files by Brendan Pawliw-MyPGNow)
BC’s already disrupted supply chain due to weather events and wildfires will have to overcome another hurdle.
As of Saturday, any cross-border truckers from the province who cannot prove they have been doubly vaxxed will have to quarantine when they return to Canada.
In addition, Non-Canadian truckers will be turned away if they cannot prove their vaccination status.
Dave Earle with the BC Trucking Association says the new rules from Ottawa will take a hefty percentage of drivers off the road.
“About 10 to 15% of drivers who are eligible to cross into the United States will likely no longer be able to as of this past Saturday, so that is about 800 to 1000 drivers in BC.”
“Anytime that you have a supply crunch when you are in a matter of static demand prices go up that is just how our economy works. If there is more demand than there is supply then those goods become more expensive and that is what we are very concerned about in terms of the ultimate impact.”
Earle adds even with the re-opening of Highway 5 (Coquihalla Highway), the province’s supply chain is still in rough shape.
“As much route five has reopened to commercial traffic, our members are telling us it is taking about 40% longer to do that run than it did pre-disaster, which is absolutely remarkable.”
“But, what that means is capacity is reduced. It takes longer to do a given set of tasks, which means that capacity is reduced. Every time we turn around, our capacity is reduced and reduced, and reduced it is going to have an impact. What that is going to look like, we are going to pay attention to a lot of indicators to try and get a handle on that.”
When asked if the federal government is creating its problem by passing this mandate onto an industry that is already short drivers, to begin with, Earle is curious to see if Ottawa’s gamble of prolonging economic recovery to avoid more illness from COVID-19 will pay off.”
“What we have said to the government this time around is look, if you are going to do this, you are going to cause economic harm and the harm is going to be higher prices, constrictions to the supply chain, prolonged economic recovery and you are going to see a whole bunch of distortions in marketplaces that we can’t predict.”
“Now, the trade-off is we are going to prevent illness, at least, that is what we are hoping. But, we have said to the government, you need to be thoughtful and you need to be thinking about what does that look like and how much illness are we going to be preventing versus how much harm are we going to be creating,” added Earle.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance added the mandate could boost inflation as well as food insecurity with manufacturers laying off workers.