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Truckers opposed to vaccine mandate en route to Ottawa

The trucks rolled through Kamloops on Jan. 23

A rally by hundreds of truckers opposed to the federal government’s border vaccine mandate have departed B.C. for Ottawa, rolling through Kamloops on Sunday, Jan. 23.

As trucks headed east through Valleyview on the Trans-Canada Highway at about noon, supporters of their cause — and opponents of vaccine mandates — lined the highway with signs and shouts of encouragement.

Both Canada and the United States now have vaccine mandates governing everybody — including truckers — crossing the border. To enter either country, one must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance is a federation of provincial trucking associations. It estimates the federal vaccine requirement could take between 10 and 15 per cent — 12,000 to 16,000 — of truck drivers off the road.

According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, vaccination rates in the industry are between 83 and 87 per cent.

Before the edict came down last week, Canada had deemed truck drivers an essential service and granted them an exemption from border restrictions.

Those opposed to the mandate are driving their trucks from across Canada, meeting in Ottawa on Jan. 29.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance said it does not support protests that would block or disrupt roads and highways or interfere with public safety.

The Canadian and U.S. governments already have their policies in place, said president Stephen Laskowski in a statement. “This regulation is not changing, so, as an industry, we must adapt and comply with this mandate,” he said. “The only way to cross the border, in a commercial truck or any other vehicle, is to get vaccinated.”

— with a file from the Vancouver Sun