OTTAWA — The Trudeau government appears to be backing away from imposing a vaccine mandate on all federally regulated private-sector workplaces, which would include ports and feedmills.
The proposed mandatory vaccine to cross provincial borders has already been dropped for truckers according to Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan, Blacklock’s Reporter reported.
The minister’s admission came days after the Feb. 24 testimony of Canadian Pork Council Chair Rick Bergmann, who advised the Commons agriculture committee a vaccination requirement would only worsen a “significant shortage of trucks and trailers to haul hogs across Canada.” It also followed the freedom convoy protests that rallied for 24 days in downtown Ottawa — sparked largely by the government’s Jan. 13 vaccination rule for truckers returning from the U.S.
O’Regan’s department intended to introduce a Canada Labour Code amendment requiring the jab in all federally regulated workplaces in “early 2022” — as announced by the minister more than five months ago. Meanwhile, the first quarter of 2022 has come and gone, provincial pandemic restrictions have been melting away, and workers and contractors at federally regulated grain elevators and ports have yet to be forced to vaccinate.
When asked by Farmers Forum if O’Regan was still proceeding with the plan to force truckers and those in federally-regulated workplaces to vaccinate, his department waffled.
“Regulations have not been brought forward to date,” spokesperson Maja Stefanovska replied by email. “The labour program is continuing to follow public health advice on COVID-19 and to hear the perspectives of federally regulated stakeholders, to determine the approach moving forward.”
By contrast, in January, a department spokesperson said the vaccine requirements were being developed “expeditiously.”
At the federally regulated Port of Johnstown, general manager Robert Dalley said he had received no correspondence from the government indicating a federal mandate was imminent. On its own accord, the Port already requires employees to be vaccinated, Dalley pointed out, adding it doesn’t apply to truckers and contractors visiting the operation. “We’re just trying to protect each other,” he added.