Industry experts and leaders remained concerned about the country's supply chain as the federal government's new vaccine mandate for truck drivers came into effect Saturday following days of confusion around the rules.
The mandate, which will require Canadian truckers to quarantine if unvaccinated when crossing the border into Canada, led to a number of questions and corrections around who would be exempt and how.
Now, with the vaccine requirement in place, concerns persist about the impact this mandate will have on the North American supply chain.
"I think you probably won't see that movement … that the government's looking for," retail expert Bruce Winder told CTV News Channel on Saturday when asked if the effort will encourage truckers to get vaccinated.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has said between 10 and 15 per cent of cross-border commercial drivers could be lost if the mandate takes effect.
American Trucking Associations has argued that a misapplied mandate would fuel a surge in driver turnover and attrition, with fleets losing as much as 37 per cent of their current workforce.
There are 120,000 Canadians and 40,000 licensed drivers in the U.S. who operate cross-border, the Canadian Trucking Alliance says, while about 70 per cent of the $648 billion in trade between the two countries moves by truck.
Under the vaccine mandate, unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated non-Canadian truckers will be turned away if they aren't able to show proof of vaccination or a valid medical exemption to the COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. plans to have a similar mandate come into effect for drivers crossing into the country starting Jan. 22.
"I know what the government's trying to do with managing the hospital capacity, but they could find themselves with a very tough situation if Canadians rise up with inflation and food insecurity, or major manufacturers slow down, lay off people," Winder said.
The mandate throws a "major wrench" in the Canadian and North American supply chains, he added, with grocers, food producers, the auto parts industry and building materials among the sectors expected to be most affected.
If the Biden Administration keeps the mandate requiring Canadian truckers to be vaccinated, then things could get potentially very dicey in the weeks ahead.
Keep an eye on this story.