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​Federal Panel Issues Recommendations on Border Re-opening and Future Border Policies

- by Susan Green

A federal COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel issued a report yesterday with proposals that could pave a path toward reopening the Canada-US border while balancing public health.

The report, entitled “Priority Strategies to Optimize Testing and Quarantine at Canada’s border”, contained several proposed measures for future land and air border ports in the future, including sustained use of the ArriveCAN app as well as vaccine “certifications.”

In November 2020, the federal Minister of Health created the panel to provide evidence and science-informed advice to the federal government related to existing and innovative approaches to testing and screening in Canada.

The expert panel also recommended the following measures to help support and meet these objectives:

  • Border measures must be simple, easy to understand, equitable and consider both benefits and harms;
  • Recommending the Government of Canada continue to use the ArriveCAN app to manage traveller information reporting;
  • The panel acknowledged considerations regarding vaccine “certification,” and recommending a system to validate proof of vaccination for arriving travellers should be made available as soon as possible;
  • The panel recommends the federal government continue screening positive cases among international travellers for variants of concern;
  • Land and air border measures should remain as consistent as possible;
  • The requirement for all air travellers to quarantine in government-authorized accommodations be discontinued;
  • The panel recommends phased implementation of new border measures and consideration for the implementation process, including enforcement, which could take additional time to implement for certain measures.

A delegation of Canadian Trucking Alliance carrier members from each region met with the panel in March to provide the industry’s perspective on managing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 throughout the supply chain, with specific emphasis on cross-border operations.

The objectives stated in the report very much align with CTA’s recommended approach on cross-border measures, which are designed to control the spread of COVID-19; protect public health; secure the supply chain and its services by ensuring that travel restrictions are not excessive; and if required, utilize voluntary testing away from the border to monitor the constantly evolving COVID situation.

Voluntary COVID-19 testing was the recommended approach for exempt travellers arriving at the border by air and land. The report states:

“Voluntary testing on arrival for exempt travellers with lab-based PCR or rapid test: (i) Take-home sampling kit and/or scale up pharmacy capacity (ii) Self-monitoring for symptoms and no quarantine required unless the test is positive. Note: The voluntary arrival testing program should provide useful information on further potential recommendations for this group.”

The report also highlighted what was essentially a zero positivity rate among truck drivers from three voluntary testing programs at multiple locations across Canada last year.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance would like to once again thank the Expert Panel Co- Chairs Sue Paish and Dr. Irfan Dhalla for meeting with CTA and listening and considering our industry’s concerns and applying our reasoning behind our recommendations,” said CTA director of Policy, Lak Shoan.

“CTA will continue to work collaboratively with Government of Canada to ensure that our industry continues to manage health and safety to the highest degree; trains and prepares its members on the mandatory ArriveCAN requirement, while helping to certify our supply chain remains secure and continues to function at the level required to fuel the Canadian economy.”

source: CTA


 

Manitoba Reaches COVID-19 Immunization Milestone with 1,000 MB Truck Drivers Vaccinated in North Dakota

- by Susan Green

Manitoba has reached a new COVID-19 immunization milestone with more than 1,000 truck drivers vaccinated in North Dakota as part of the Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative, Economic Development and Jobs Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.

“Our government is grateful for this partnership with North Dakota to augment Manitoba’s vaccine rollout and we appreciate their offer to help protect Manitobans and immunize essential workers delivering goods and services,” said Eichler. “We have now surpassed the milestone of 1,000 truck drivers who have been immunized in North Dakota and this demand showcases the importance of this joint initiative with our neighbours to the south.”

Announced in April, the Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative is an opportunity to support Manitoba and North Dakota’s integrated economies by co-operating on the vaccination of individuals who work in both jurisdictions. The first clinic opened April 21 at a northbound rest area on Interstate 29 (I-29) near Drayton, N.D.

The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) and its members have helped the province identify and co-ordinate eligible individuals for the initiative. By co-ordinating with North Dakota, truck drivers transporting goods to and from the United States have been able to schedule vaccination appointments on their routine trips.

“Throughout this pandemic, Manitoba truck drivers knew that they had to stay on the road so that they could deliver the supplies their fellow Manitobans needed to self-isolate safely and comfortably,” said Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association. “While this couldn’t be done without Manitoba and our willing trucking community, it also couldn’t occur without the generosity of the State of North Dakota. On behalf of the membership of the Manitoba Trucking Association, thank you to our government partners on both sides of the border.”

The state and province have established a joint operations group to manage the initiative. The North Dakota Department of Health is providing nurses and other staff to administer the first and second doses of the vaccine to provide full immunization of truckers. There is no cost to the state or province as the U.S. government supplies the vaccine and reimburses the costs to administer.

Manitoban truck drivers are currently able to get vaccinated at two clinics in North Dakota:
• Oriska rest area on I-94 near Tower City every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and
• Drayton rest area on I-29 near Drayton every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

These locations and hours will be effective to the end of June (updated with new date).

Source: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/?archive=&item=51328

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Manitoba’s Asymptomatic Rapid Test Screening Program

- by Susan Green

Those interested in participating in the Asymptomatic Rapid Testing Program are asked to email ttf@gov.mb.ca and Manitoba staff will connect with them to find a solution that will work for their employees.

Manitoba’s Asymptomatic Rapid Test Screening Program


Goal:

  • To roll-out an Asymptomatic Rapid Test Screening Program with targeted industry partners, using rapid antigen tests. The Program will act as a first line of defense in identifying asymptomatic cases to prevent outbreaks, limit community spread, increase public confidence and allow for sustained operations.

Timeline:

  • Province will support Industry partners by suppling up to 3 months worth of tests for the initial phase and based on results and COVID status will review for possible extensions.

Purpose:

  • Potentially capture asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that would otherwise go undetected.

General Parameters:

  • Province would provide rapid tests and facilitate staff training to administer.
  • Test used: Abbott PanBio rapid antigen test (simple hand held test type with no device attached)
    • Specimen collected is by anterior nasal swab (less invasive than deeper swab currently received at regular testing stream sites as it does not go past the narrowing of the nose). Virtual training to administer will be provided through provincial coordination. Time-commitment for training will be minimal.
    • Tests can be self-administered.
    • Province will support workplace communications (e.g. key messages for staff; info on the device and program etc.)

Provincial ask:

  • Industry partners will need to be able to self-administer the program. At a high-level operationally, this would include:
    • ability to meet simple high level reporting requirements e.g. weekly reporting of # swabbed; # positives: # negatives will suffice. MB will provide the tool to report and will not require any specifics about individuals tested as part of the program.

Additional info:

Should someone test positive they would be considered a “presumptive positive”- organizations would need to follow routine processes for a symptomatic individual e.g. self-isolate; get a regular stream test to confirm the positive; follow public health advice etc

 

Manitoba, North Dakota Announce Joint Initiative to Vaccinate Truck Drivers

- by Susan Green

In the course of their work into or through North Dakota, drivers who are interested in vaccination should use this website to book appointments (choose Drayton Rest area): https://vaccinereg.health.nd.gov/clinic/search

Where: DRAYTON North bound rest area
When: Starting April 21, 2021 Wednesday – Friday noon to 8 p.m. until May 21, 2021

Eligibility:

  • Drivers must be able to cross into the U.S. and return to Canada without quarantining
  • Have a valid Manitoba Class 1 license and be on assignment


FAQ's

How can I register with a Canadian address and phone number?

To register please go to North Dakota PrepMod and search for Drayton Rest Area location.

  • Please, modify your entry as below to capture your Manitoba address.
    • City – City and Province (no punctuation please)
    • State – ND
    • Zip Code – 58225
    • County – Out of State
    • Insurance – No insurance as there will be no charge

Phone Number – We are currently not able to accept Canadian phone numbers so for the time being please enter 701-999-9999.

What do I need to bring to the appointment?

  • Proof of Identification such as your Manitoba driver’s license and your Manitoba health card / PHIN.

Who will administer the vaccines?

  • North Dakota Public health nurses will give the injection to individuals in their trucks.
  • You will be asked to remain onsite and in your truck for 15 mins after receiving the vaccines to ensure you do not have any side effects. Emergency Medical Technician staff (EMT) will be on site at all times in case of a rare allergic reaction.
  • Administration:
    • Moderna Vaccine
    • Pfizer or Janssen (J&J) vaccines may be available in the future
    • Vaccines will be supplied and administered by the State of North Dakota

What happens it I experience a side effect?

  • Drivers are asked to remain in their truck during that vaccination process. If you experience a side effect, you are asked to sound your horn to alert the EMT and Nursing staff. IF transportation to a care center is required, there are ambulances on site.

Do I need to confirm that I have health insurance before I get the vaccine?

  • There will be no charge for your COVID-19 vaccine so therefore the State of North Dakota will not be gathering insurance information.

Do I have to pay for the vaccine?

  • No you do not. There is no charge for your COVID-19 vaccine.

What if I am delayed and will not make my appointment?

You or your dispatch can contact the vaccines scheduling team at 1-701-328-0707 to reschedule your appointment

What about the second dose?

  • This pilot will run until May 21, 2021, which will allow for drivers to receive their second shot 28 days after receiving the first. Scheduling for second doses will be done at the time you receive your first dose of vaccine.

Can I bring someone with me to receive their vaccine?

  • No this program is only for individuals- drivers- that meet the federal standard to essential transportation workers.

How will Manitoba know that I have receive the vaccine?

You will be required to complete a consent form allowing the State of North Dakota to share your vaccination record with Manitoba. This form requires your Manitoba PHIN, which will ensure your Manitoba vaccination record is updated. You will also receive an immunization record card that you should keep with you at all times.

What it I am not in the North Dakota between Wednesday and Friday?

COVID-19 vaccines are available in North Dakota for anyone in the state, regardless of residency status so if you are able to schedule at another facility or clinic feel free to do so. Please visit vaccinefinder.org to find another vaccination clinic. Additional opportunities for Canadian residents will be made available in the future.


North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister today announced the Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative, where North Dakota will administer COVID-19 vaccinations to Manitoba-based truck drivers transporting goods to and from the United States. This is the first such program between a Canadian and American jurisdiction.

“North Dakota and Manitoba have a long and rich history of friendship and co-operation, and this vaccination initiative is an opportunity to strengthen that bond by offering assistance that will protect public health and the flow of goods and services on both sides of the border,” Burgum said. “With adequate vaccine supplies and all North Dakotans having access to vaccine while Canada is dealing with a vaccine shortage, we want to do our part to ensure essential workers from Canada who are frequently travelling through our state are vaccinated. The timely and effective administration of vaccines is essential for public health and the eventual safe reopening of our shared border.”

The Essential Workers Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative is an opportunity to support Manitoba’s and North Dakota’s integrated economies by co-operating on the vaccination of individuals who work in both jurisdictions.

“As Manitoba faces the third wave of the pandemic and the significant challenges associated with variants of concern, our number one limiting factor in protecting Manitobans is the availability of COVID-19 vaccines,” Pallister said. “Manitoba is proud to partner with North Dakota on this innovative strategy to provide life-saving vaccines to Manitoba’s essential workers delivering the goods and services Manitobans, Canadians and Americans rely on. Manitoba and North Dakota have enjoyed a strong relationship of mutual respect and friendship, and I want to thank Governor Burgum and his team for their willingness to support Manitoba through this joint vaccination effort.”

With the assistance of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) and its members, Manitoba will identify and co-ordinate with eligible individuals and work with North Dakota to schedule vaccination appointments for truck drivers during their routine trips to the U.S. over the next six to eight weeks. It is estimated roughly 2,000 to 4,000 Manitoba drivers will take part in this program.

“On behalf of my eligible driving staff and all Manitoba Trucking Association members, I welcome today’s announcement,” said Bernie Driedger, president of Portage Transport Inc. “When it comes to the COVID vaccine the most important question is not where can one get it, but when can one get it? To see Manitoba and North Dakota coming together to creatively collaborate on a vaccination strategy that will expedite the vaccination of Manitoba truck drivers working to or through North Dakota is excellent news. This move protects these important essential workers and their families, while also freeing up vaccination spots back in Manitoba. A genuine win/win. We congratulate our provincial government partners on the initiative they took to make this happen”.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation’s rest area near Drayton, N.D., will initially serve as the vaccination site, which will also be open to North Dakotans ages 16 and older to get vaccinated. Vaccinations will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The state and province are establishing a joint-operations group to manage the initiative. The North Dakota Department of Health will provide nurses and other staff to administer the first and second doses of the vaccine to provide full immunization of truckers. There is no cost to the state or province as the U.S. government supplies the vaccine and reimburses the costs to administer.

The shared goal of this initiative is to create a model of continental co-operation for others to emulate as we prepare to safely reopen our shared border. Manitoba and North Dakota will consider further joint initiatives to vaccinate other essential workers and Manitobans.

North Dakota and Manitoba share the fifth-busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada, and represents the gateway to economic opportunity and prosperity in the Midwest and Prairies.

In the course of their work into or through North Dakota, drivers who are interested in vaccination should use this website: https://www.health.nd.gov/prepmod




 

Manitoba Expanding Eligibility Criteria of AstraZeneca/Covishield Vaccine

- by Susan Green

Public health officials are expanding the criteria for the AstraZeneca vaccine to all Manitobans aged 40 and over while continuing to implement measures to increase capacity, Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

“Tens of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine remain in clinics and pharmacies across the province, which is why we're expanding the eligibility criteria for the vaccine,” said Stefanson. “I want to thank physician and pharmacy partners for their work to provide vaccine and look forward to the numbers of doses administered increasing quickly over the coming days.”

Effective immediately, all Manitobans aged 40 and over will be eligible to receive the AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine at a medical clinic or pharmacy. Eligible Manitobans can find their nearest clinic or pharmacy with available doses by visiting:
https://manitoba.ca/covid19/vaccine/finder.html.

“Based on all of the evidence available internationally to date, we continue to believe benefits of the AstraZeneca/ Covishield vaccine to protect against COVID-19 outweigh any potential risks,” said Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force. “Expanding the criteria will help us reach more Manitobans, particularly those who may face challenges or face barriers in going to a super site or pop-up clinic.”

The minister noted the change in eligibility comes as Manitoba continues to expand its capacity to provide the vaccine including:
• implementing a more responsive ordering process for medical clinics and pharmacies;
• opening new super sites in north Winnipeg and Steinbach in early May; and
• adjusting the use of pop-up clinics by locating them in areas where there is a significant barrier for the majority of people to get to the nearest super site.

In addition, changes are being made to the planning process for super sites as vaccine deliveries begin to rise.

“We’ve been operating with a small margin of doses carrying over from the end of one week into the next, in case a shipment of vaccine is delayed,” said Johanu Botha, operations lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force. “But supplies seem to have stabilized, so we are now able to tighten our processes and add a bump to our doses administered to help us get needles into arms as quickly as possible.”

For more information on vaccine eligibility and Manitoba’s vaccine rollout campaign, visit www.protectmb.ca.
 

MTA Elects Board of Directors at 89th Annual General Meeting

- by Susan Green

The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) held its annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday, April 9, 2021. This was the association’s 89th AGM, and it’s second virtual AGM.

A review of the activities of the association from the previous year, financials, bylaw updates, and nominations to the Board of Directors were all undertaken at the AGM. Elected to the MTA’s Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 term are:

  • Bernie Driedger Portage Transport Inc.
  • Jason Dubois Len Dubois Trucking Inc.
  • Jeffrey Odway Prairie International Container & Dray Services Inc.
  • Pauline Wiebe Peters Payne Transportation Ltd.
  • Brent Arnold Arnold Bros. Transport Limited
  • Ryan Mitchell Wildwood Transport Inc.
  • Peter McDonald TransX Group of Companies
  • Gilles Durand Du-Vall Transport Inc.
  • Shawn Graydon Rempel Insurance Brokers Ltd.
  • Ryan Johnston Gardewine
  • Jeannie Arnold Arnold Bros. Transport Limited
  • Rob Penner Bison Transport Inc.
  • Darin Downey Gardewine
  • Réal Tétrault Tétrault Transport
  • Derek Lachaine TransX Group of Companies
  • Salil Prabhakar Razir Transport Services Ltd
  • Scott Kinley Gladstone Transfer Limited
  • Howie Hildebrand Searcy Trucking Ltd.
  • Jeremy Messner Big Freight Systems Inc.
  • Jasvir Brar 4Tracks Ltd.
  • Dave Tyrchniewicz Turk Enterprises
  • Thomas McKee Payne Transportation Ltd.
  • John Curcio Manitoulin Transport Inc.
  • Steve Zokvic Bison Transport Inc.
  • Scott Kinsman Maxim Truck & Trailer
  • Rod Corbett Paul’s Hauling Ltd.
  • Darrin Fiske Kleysen Group Ltd.
  • PJ Singh 4Tracks Ltd.
  • Connie Sigurdson Harris Transport Ltd.
  • Jake Peters New Hope Transport

Members of the Board of Directors' Executive Committee include Bernie Driedger (President), Jason Dubois (1st Vice President), Jeffrey Odway (2nd Vice President), Pauline Wiebe Peters, Brent Arnold, Ryan Mitchell, and John Erik Albrechtsen (as Past President). Past Presidents include Gary Arnold (Arnold Bros. Transport Limited), Greg Arndt (Jade Transport Ltd.), Norm Blagden (Searcy Trucking Ltd.), Tom Payne Jr. (Payne Transportation Ltd.), Jim Trann (RS Express Ltd.), Al Lepp (Redline Transport Alvin Lepp Ltd.), Allan Penner (Penner International Inc.), Gil Tétrault (Tétrault Transport), and Milt Penner (Penner International Inc.). Honourary Life Directors include George Engel and Gerald Reimer.

The MTA would like to thank all who attended this year’s event. They would also like to thank event sponsor Integrity Ventures and President’s Video sponsor Bridgestone. Other sponsors who made this event possible include Ocean Trailer, BFL Canada, Beaver Truck Centre, Rempel Insurance Brokers, and Cambridge FX.
 

​Federal Carbon Price Increasing on April 1

- by Susan Green

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is reminding the trucking industry that the federal carbon price on diesel is set to increase $0.1073 per litre on April 1, 2021.

Based on diesel fuel consumption in Canada and the estimated miles travelled by Canadian trucks through domestic trips (in all provinces), CTA estimates the trucking industry will pay $538 million in carbon pricing this year. By 2023 this figure will increase to $1.2 billion and by the end of the proposed carbon tax pricing schedule, increasing by $15 per tonne until 2030, will escalate to $3 billion.

CTA does not support the introduction of carbon pricing because it fails to produce desired outcomes or any new meaningful policy changes for our sector. CTA has continued to ask the federal government to allocate all revenues generated from our sector towards a green truck fund, to encourage both a faster and broader scope of investment in GHG-reducing equipment and technologies in the trucking sector.

CTA is once again recommending that all trucking companies in Canada and members of the supply chain continue to discuss the impact of carbon pricing with their customers so they can understand the operational realities and concerns the sector is facing due to the system.

To help educate the public and the supply chain on the impact of carbon pricing on the trucking industry, CTA prepared a document and infographic for the industry. Click here: Carbon Charge on Diesel Fuel

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MTA Advocacy Update

- by Susan Green

We are working on behalf of the industry on a variety of issues right now, including driver vaccination prioritization, the City of Winnipeg Master Transportation Plan (we are active participants in this progressive process as the City of Winnipeg develops a truck route strategy. We are also in talks with the City of Winnipeg to address a phased construction approach for Inkster Industrial Park), and ESDC scheduling exemptions and other issues. We have also raised the question of authorized versus qualified drivers. Members may remember this issue from late last year, concerning technicians moving trucks on private property from the yard into/out of the shop without the class of license for the equipment they are moving; please check your latest MTA newsletter for advise on how to address this issue.

 

​Essential Workers Still Exempt as Negative COVID Test to be Required at Land Border

- by Susan Green

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today incoming measures at the land border that would require all non-essential travellers entering Canada to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arrival:

"As of next Monday, people who show up at a Canadian land border on non-essential travel ... like returning snowbirds, will be expected to show a negative PCR test from the previous 72 hours," said Trudeau.

In late January, the Government of Canada announced its intention to test at the land border but emphasized that commercial truck drivers and other essential workers would continue to be exempt from this requirement, which was confirmed to CTA through a Transport Canada press release:

The Government of Canada will introduce a 72-hour pre-arrival testing requirement (molecular test) for travellers seeking entry in land mode, with limited exceptions such as commercial truckers. In addition, we continue to collaborate with partners in the United States to strengthen our border measures and keep our countries safe.


Source: CTA


 

INCREASED MANITOBA BIODIESEL MANDATE HURTS TRUCKING

- by Susan Green

December 22, 2020 - The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) is disappointed that the Province of Manitoba has increased the biofuel mandate in Manitoba without regard for the impact on the trucking industry or the economy in general.

“We are especially disappointed that Manitoba has disregarded the repeated communications the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA) has made to Provincial Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the Expert Advisory Council to explain the technical limitations of using biodiesel in Manitoba’s seasonal climate,” explains Terry Shaw, MTA Executive Director. “We have explained time and again that our climate is too extreme for biodiesel at higher blends. These higher blends are not reliable and lead to increased downtime and maintenance costs for our industry.”

In the cold months, little or no biodiesel is blended in the fuel sold in Manitoba. This is because fuel suppliers know that biodiesel is problematic in cold temperatures. The Province’s continued insistence that there are no operability issues with biodiesel and cold weather is countered by the fact that suppliers do not sell it during cold temperatures.

In warmer months, biodiesel is blended at 5% to achieve the current 2% content requirement. With the higher content announced today by the Province, that blend level will increase beyond 5%, which will cause performance and maintenance issues that are not covered by manufacturer warranties.

In Manitoba, a 5% mandate does not actually mean a consistent fuel blend of 5%. The mandated 5% is a provincial annual average. In Northern Manitoba, the year-round temperatures are such that fuel suppliers will not use biodiesel. This means that in Southern Manitoba, to hit the 5% province wide average, trucking companies will get more than 5% biodiesel on an annualized basis.

The MTA is calling on the provincial government to change course on its biodiesel policy and instead to convene a committee of industry subject matter experts to partner on a progressive strategy that will create positive environmental gains while not undermining industry or economic success.


 

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