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Trucking industry divided over vaccine mandates: Poll

Members of Canada’s trucking industry appear divided over whether truck drivers should be required to vaccinate against Covid-19.

In a monthly Pulse survey of Today’s Trucking readers conducted on Jan. 26, 52% agreed with the mandates, while 48% opposed the idea. Just over one third (38%) had vaccine mandates within their workplaces.

(Photo: John G. Smith)

The 711 responses included a cross section of drivers, owner-operators, fleet managers, and executives. But the results were similar across the job functions. Among the 298 drivers and owner-operators, 53% agreed truck drivers should be required to vaccinate. Fifty-five percent of the fleet managers and owners took the same stance.

The survey was conducted after Canada and the U.S. imposed vaccine mandates on cross-border truck drivers, and when convoys of those protesting vaccine mandates and other public health guidelines began to roll. Canada’s vaccine mandate was imposed Jan. 15, while the U.S. began applying its mandate Jan. 22.

Twenty-two percent of those who responded to the survey said employees have left their workplace specifically because of the vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers. Just over 4% said they had personally changed jobs because of it.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has predicted the trucking industry could lose 12,000 to 16,000 cross-border truck drivers based on overall vaccination rates and the number of drivers involved in cross-border work.

Among those surveyed, 29% expected most unvaccinated cross-border truck drivers to begin driving domestic routes for the same fleet, 19% thought the drivers would begin driving domestic routes at another fleet, and 33% said they would leave the trucking industry entirely. About 15% thought such drivers would attempt to ignore the rules, while 4% would switch to non-driving jobs.

Respondents in the Today’s Trucking poll were equally divided about whether vaccine mandates encourage more truck drivers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Asked to rank the affect of a vaccine mandate on cross-border supply chains on a scale of 1-100, with 1 representing an improvement and 5 representing harm, the average score was 59, suggesting little to no change is expected.

Late last year, the federal government also announced plans to introduce a vaccine mandate for all federally regulated truck drivers, including those who cross provincial borders. Details of that mandate have yet to emerge.

Today’s Trucking Pulse survey are conducted by email once a month.

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