Q: One of our drivers recently bought groceries while in the US. Upon returning to Canada, this driver was advised that this action could be determined as discretionary, meaning it could result in being subject to the 14 day quarantine. We thought drivers were exempt from this quarantine requirement as they are essential workers?
A: We have heard from a few members of drivers being warned that some actions are being determined at the border as discretionary, and these drivers are being advised against such actions or risk a 14-day quarantine. These actions have included grocery shopping and even fueling their truck (under some very specific circumstances, and not while under load). We also mentioned in the October newsletter that it has come to our attention that officers are questioning drivers on the amount of time they are spending in the US for what is perceived as a short trip. These trips may be extended for perfectly legitimate reasons, such as resetting hours of service. We have been in touch with CBSA on this issue, and while they are concerned about essential workers being told they need to quarantine, they also shared some advice to help ensure such an order will not be issued. These tips include:
- focusing on purchases that are only required for your trip. Groceries are required; gifts for friends or Christmas presents are not considered essential;
- don’t deviate from your essential work. That is, even if you have some downtime while waiting for a reload, for example, don’t use that time to visit with others or go shopping for non-essential goods;
- call CBSA if you are unsure about how your actions may be interpreted.
- Within Canada and the United States, call toll-free 1-800-461-9999
- TTY (for those with hearing or speech impairments) 1-866-335-3237
Should drivers continue to have issues, please contact us at the MTA office.