First we at Peter Suess Transportation Consultant Inc would like to thank all the drivers currently out on the road doing their best during this crisis. We know you are experiencing many hardships, from the lack of very basic services like washrooms and showers to being away from home and family. All front line workers deserve the gratitude of our nations. Thank you!
These are crazy times we live in. With the COVID-19 quickly making it’s way across the world, people from all walks of life are being affected. All industries are feeling the effects as people deal with this invasion in their lives. From social distancing initiatives, self-isolation, panic purchasing and stock piling, our countries are experiencing new hurdles to overcome.
With that in mind we have created this post to place any new updates as pertaining to the trucking and commercial transportation industry.
As of May 7, 2021 here is what we know:
*NEW* Alberta teams up with Montana to vaccinate cross-border drivers
Like previously announced by Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Alberta is teaming up with their closest U.S. state neighbour to vaccinate drivers who are crossing the border. Drivers looking to participate in this vaccination program can receive theirs at a rest stop in Conrad, Montana.
The program will start May 10, and will provide the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
*NEW* North Dakota helping to vaccinate Manitoba and Saskatchewan cross-border drivers
Manitoba and North Dakota first announced the Essential Worker Cross-Border Vaccination Initiative which will offer COVID-19 vaccinations to Manitoba based drivers while driving in the United States. It has just been released that North Dakota will also be teaming up with Saskatchewan to offer the same service to their cross-border drivers as well.
Drivers from both provinces will be able to access vaccines at North Dakota’s Department of Transportation rest area near Drayton, N.D.. It will be available to drivers on the north bound side. There will be an online pre-registration system to streamline services. Vaccinations are available from noon to 8p.m. Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays.
*NEW* PEI Drivers will need self isolate when returning from outside of Atlantic Canada
Drivers who live in Prince Edward Island will need to isolate after returning home from being outside of Atlantic Canada. Even if the driver has had a COVID-19 vaccine the self-isolation orders still stand until a negative COVID-19 test is returned to them. The COVID-19 test must be done within 72-hours of returning home. These measures will stay in place until at least May 17th.
Further clarification provided for PEI drivers on the new self-isolation rules for returning home from outside Atlantic Canada.
Drivers who reside in PEI will not need to isolate after receiving a negative COVID-19 test if they are registered as a rotational worker and get tested at the mandated frequencies.
Drivers who reside outside of PEI will need to self-isolate as much as possible, avoiding public areas, grocery stores and other retail. If planning on being in the province for more than 24 hours and staying in a location other than their truck, the driver must apply for pre-travel approval. As well, non-PEI resident drivers will not have to do a pre-departure test, or do testing in PEI, provided they conform to contactless loading and unloading protocols. If symptoms occur while in province then drivers are to self-isolate and go to a drop in center for
COVID-19 testing as soon as possible.
*NEW* Ontario: Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announces that temporary extensions for Oversize/Overweight Annual and Enhance Annual Permit types will end June 1st.
As of June 1, 2021, all Annual permit Types will require valid dates on all permits in order to transport oversize loads. This includes all Annual and Enhances Annual permits and all Special Vehicle Combination permits. You can apply online for the Annual and Enhanced Annual permits through the MTO’s Permitting and Registration for International Registration Plan and Oversize/Overweight online service: https://www.prio.mto.gov.on.ca/ONEnterprise/Login.aspx
*NEW* New Brunswick: Commercial drivers leaving Atlantic Canada region will soon be required to get tested for COVID-19.
Commercial truck drivers will have to present proof of a negative test, or proof of a scheduled test at borders. Premier Blaine Higgs says that this will not be enforced right away. New Brunswick is encouraging weekly testing for truck drivers who cross out of Atlantic Canada.
We will update when this comes into effect.
*NEW* Canada: Truckers exempt from mandatory COVID-19 testing before crossing land borders.
Canada has announced that starting February 15th, individuals crossing at land borders will need to have had a COVID-19 test within 72-hours prior to attempting to cross. Truckers are not included in this new safety measure to help keep supply chains and essential services moving.
United States: Truckers are exempt from the CDC mask requirements
This exemption applies to drivers who are driving solo in the cab of their truck. The new mask regulations apply once the driver leaves their vehicle and enters a transportation hub such as an airport, seaports, marinas, train stations, U.S. ports of entry.
Canadian COVID-19 Protocols by Jurisdiction:
The CCMTA is providing a spreadsheet that lists what the protocols are by jurisdiction. You can check that out on their home page www.ccmta.ca
Canadian Border Crossing Protocol Update
Effective immediately: All truck drivers must wear a non-medical mask when crossing the border.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has stated that going forward all essential workers will need to wear a mask or face covering when crossing the border. If you do not have a non-medical grade mask when you arrive at the border, a Canada Border Services Agent will give one to you.
The Government of Canada has provided instructions on how to make either a sewn or no-sew face mask.
Truck drivers are still exempt from the 14-day quarantine when crossing the border, unless symptomatic. REMINDER: If you are on your days off, you are required to self-isolate during this time.
Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) has released additional information on how to proceed with border crossings as an essential service.
1) Those involved with essential services such as truck drivers are exempt from the 14-day quarantine. However, if you are going on days off and not performing duties, drivers must follow self-isolation protocol. This means drivers on their time off must follow physical distancing, self-monitor for symptoms, stay in your place of residence as much as possible, and if you feel sick, follow the directions of your local public health authority.
2) To reduce document handling at Primary Inspection Lines (PIL) they are encouraging drivers to sign up for electronic notices. Signing up for this service means you will no longer need to receive a stamped copy of the lead sheet at the PIL. Sign up here: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/eservices/menu-eng.html#tab5
3) Important: only truck drivers and their co-drivers (if required) are considered essential services and allowed to cross the border at this time. Any additional passengers (including family and friends) who are not essential services will not be allowed to cross. The only exceptions are Canadian residents or permanent residents and those individuals must begin their mandatory 14-day self-isolation once in Canada.
To see the announcement in full click here.
Canadian Border Services Agency
Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has announced that they are reducing hours at 27 locations. Read the full listing of locations and the new hours here.
Provincial closures and updates
Ontario: Drive test centers and part time Travel Centers are closed as of March 23.
Quebec: the SAAQ has extended an extra month to those with heavy vehicle to get their routine maintenance. They have also suspended knowledge and road tests at this time.
Manitoba: Manitoba is encouraging anyone how has licensing/registrations/vehicle insurance/etc transactions contact their regular insurance brokers or directly with MPI by phone or online. Manitoba has also released a new Spring Restrictions guide to help with maintaining the food supply chain. You can find that here.
Canada USA Borders
Canada and the USA have closed it’s borders all non-essential traffic. The important exceptions to this rule are that Canadian citizens are allowed to come home, as are permanent residents.
Canada announced that it wants to keep trade lines open as they are vital to everyone on both sides of the border, so commercial traffic is able to come through at this time. Drivers who are foreign workers will be allowed to return to Canada
Canada has stated that they are upping the number of personnel at border crossings, as well as training border security in analyzing travelers for signs of COVID-19. Border security will be asking each person to answer a series of questions to help determine if anyone is suffering from the virus. You can read more here.
*Updated* U.S. Expanded Hours of Service Emergency Suspension
FMCSA’s expanded emergency declaration provides regulatory relief to truck drivers providing direct assistance in transporting emergency items, including:
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
- Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
- Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
- Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
- Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
- Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.
Please note this only applies to those drivers who are providing direct assistance and NOT normal commercial traffic.
To read the full declaration click here.
Truck stops and other areas of rest
Here are the links for some of the bigger chains out there and what they are doing to stay open during COVID-19 pandemic:
TravelCenters of America
Ontario’s 511 service has added parking and washrooms to their interactive map. 511 also has a list of truck friendly stops.
*Updated* Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Ontario extends validation periods for driver licenses, license plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services. The Ministry of Transportation is also automatically extending the due dates for medical or vision reports. This extension will be in place until such time that, based on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, the current situation improves.
The MTO earlier issued this statement new plates and permits:
“The Ministry of Transportation has initiated a contingency plan in response to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. To reduce the impact this disruption has on business, vehicle registrants and permit requestors, time-critical services related to Oversize/Overweight Single-Trip Permits and MVIS Stock orders will continue to be delivered in a limited capacity.
Download your memo from the MTO for proof of extended dates for expired driver and carrier products and services.
The office located at 301 St. Paul St., St. Catharines will be temporarily closed. Permit requests and stock orders can continue to be sent by fax.”
The MTO has lifted the reduced load bans in Southern Ontario for anyone hauling materials considered to be essential. This will be in effect until June 30.
IRP offices are reducing their office hours to 8 a.m. -3 p.m.. Services will still be provided by mail, email, and phone. Plates, permits, voltages, and cab cards can be delivered by courier.
Locations where masks are now mandatory:
Many states and provinces have mandatory mask rules for public spaces. Be sure to look up the areas of your planned travel so you can be prepared as rules have been changing based on case levels. (Though it is a good idea as a general rule any ways!)
DriverCheck has issued a statement on how drug and alcohol testing will be proceeding. Drivers who have travelled to the United States will be tested as per normal, providing they are asymptomatic and have not been in contact with another person with or suspected to have COVID-19. However, DriverCheck is imposing measures to mitigate any contagion. All drivers will have to wear face masks throughout the testing period, and all DriverCheck personnel will be wearing full protective gear. Read DriverChecks full update here.
We at PSTC are keeping our ear to the ground to keep you updated as the situation progresses. We are still open and available to help you out with your trucking business.
Keep healthy out there everyone and keep washing those hands!