Federal government won't budge on vaccine mandate for truckers as convoy heads for Ottawa_freckle removal from lip

Federal government won't budge on vaccine mandate for truckers as convoy heads for OttawaThe federal government says it will not back down on its vaccination rule for cross-border truckers despite entrenched opposition from some drivers and groups claiming to represent their interests.

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Business groups call on Ottawa to drop proof-of-vaccination policy for cross-border drivers

John Paul Tasker · CBC News(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The federal government says it will not back down on its vaccination rule for cross-border truckers despite entrenched opposition from some drivers and groups claiming to represent their interests.

In a joint media statement released today, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Labour Minister Seamus O'Regan, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough and Stephen Laskowski, the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), said COVID-19 vaccines are the "most effective tool to reduce the risk of COVID-19" and protect public health.

In an interview with CBC's Power & Politics, Alghabra said the government is not interested in alternatives like rapid testing for unvaccinated truckers. He said truckers and the wider industry have had months to prepare for the new regulations and drivers must now get the shot or stop driving over the border.

"Our plan is to defeat COVID and end the pandemic as quickly as possible. What we're doing right now is for the protection of truck drivers but also for the protection of our supply chains and our economy," Alghabra said. "The best way to deal with COVID is through vaccination."

A convoy of protesters — including truckers and members of groups broadly opposed to public health mandates — are set to descend on Ottawa this weekend to stage a demonstration on Parliament Hill.

The effort, dubbed the "freedom convoy" by participants, is being organized by Canada Unity, a group that opposes COVID-19-related measures. A GoFundMe campaign organized by Tamara Lich — who has ties to the Maverick Party, a federal party with roots in Alberta separatist circles — has so far collected more than $4.3 million in donations to support the convoy.

WATCH | Employment minister tells CBC's Power & Politics there are no plans to roll back vaccine mandate

Government standing firm on vaccine mandate for truckers

21 hours agoDuration 9:07Despite calls from some business groups for the government to delay the new vaccination rule for truckers, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the government doesn't intend to push the pause button.News|Corrections and Clarifications

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