Why Some Unvaccinated Truckers Are Exempt From Canada's COVID Protocols

Canadian truckers have been protesting against COVID protocols requiring vaccinations or testing and quarantine—but a government order exempts some unvaccinated truckers from those rules.

Those transferring COVID vaccines and medical devices, among other medical equipment, into Canada are not required to test for the virus or quarantine at the border, according to a government order, Global News reported.

Health Canada stated that truckers transporting these supplies are exempt from those COVID requirements because of the "urgent public health necessity" and due to the country's COVID response.

However, this exemption needs a ministerial invitation and was "rarely used," a Health Canada spokesperson told Global News.

Truckers transporting medical devices, medications and vaccines authorized for use in Canada are spared from border protocols. No details were mentioned whether the medical devices include face masks or COVID tests.

"The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that those involved in commercial transport who are transporting medically necessary supplies remain exempt from the vaccination requirement to enter Canada," Health Canada said, per Global News.

Additionally, those exempt include drivers who are dropping off students at school campuses on either side of the U.S.- Canada border, according to the exemption, which is part of an order-in-council that highlights decisions made by the Cabinet and released in January.

Unvaccinated individuals working in commercial transport to deliver, pick up, or fix medical equipment and supplies are also covered by this exemption, Health Canada confirmed.

Apart from those situations, unvaccinated truckers are required to obtain a pre-arrival COVID test, quarantine, and go through COVID molecular testing in Canada as per pandemic-related border requirements pandemic protocols.

"Any proportion of a delivery that is medically necessary and is being delivered to a health-care facility or supply distribution centre is sufficient to qualify the person for this exemption," Health Canada said.

Unvaccinated Truckers Are Exempt From COVID protocols
Some unvaccinated truckers are exempt from COVID rules on the U.S.-Canada border including those transferring COVID vaccines and some medical supplies. Above, hundreds of truck drivers and their supporters gather to block the streets of downtown Ottawa as part of a convoy of truck protesters against Covid mandates in Canada on February 11 in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Emerson, Manitoba, U.S.-Canada border, which was the last crossing area blocked by trucker protesters, reopened on Wednesday, according to the police. Protesters left the border after blocking it since February 10.

The demonstrators were part of the Freedom Convoy protesting against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mandate that included the quarantining of unvaccinated truckers crossing the border with the U.S.

Trudeau on Monday invoked emergency powers for the first time in 50 years to end the truck protest, which began last month as an objection to new mandates requiring truckers to get vaccinated against COVID or get tested or potentially quarantined.

Newsweek contacted Health Canada and Canada Border Services Agency for comments.