Trucking Remains an Essential Service as Canada-U.S. Close Borders to Non-essential Traffic

(March 18, 2020) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unequivocally stated that commercial truck drivers will not be impacted by new measures that will close the Canada-U.S. border to all non-essential travel.

“Truckers will not be affected,” said the prime minister, who noted the trucking industry carries up to $2 billion a day across the border.

The new operating and travel restrictions for the border begin Friday at midnight. The border will remain closed until “necessary,” Trudeau said.

The government once again stressed the movement of goods across the border by the trucking industry and Canadian truck drivers remains an essential service required to provide vital supplies, food and other products to keep our economy running and Canadians safe.

Furthermore, both Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), clarified to the public and CTA directly that all classes of truck drivers – including Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and temporary foreign workers (TFW) and workers on visas – continue to be exempt from the 14-day self-quarantine rule, and will be allowed to cross the border between Canada and the U.S.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also reinforced this today, stating specifically that an exemption is being made for Temporary Foreign Workers.

The Government of Canada in tandem with the Public Health Agency of Canada posted the following on their website regarding the transportation sector, truck drivers and exemptions:


The continued global movement of goods and people and the ongoing delivery of essential services will be important for Canada’s response to COVID-19.

Consequently, an exemption to the request to self-isolate for 14 days should be provided to workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people. For example, this exemption would apply to:

  • Healthy workers in the trade and transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods and people across the border, such as truck drivers and crew on any plane, train or marine vessel crossing the border;
  • Healthy people who have to cross the border to go to work, including health care providers and critical infrastructure workers


Workers in these sectors should:

  • practice social distancing (maintain a distance of 2 metres from others)
  • closely self-monitor
  • self-isolate should they exhibit any symptoms

As indicated in CTA communications released Monday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection have indicated that Canadian drivers should not see any additional issues at the border – beyond additional screening/questioning – unless a truck driver is exhibiting clear symptoms or has returned from a “hot spot” country within the last 14 days, as indicated in President Trump’s recent Executive Order. If a driver tries to cross the border within a 14-day period of returning from one of these locations, they will be denied entry into the U.S.

“The Canadian trucking industry is encouraged by the Government of Canada’s clear recognition the trucking industry is an essential service in these uncertain times and truck drivers, in particular, are the front-line workers Canadians will be depending on to help us through this crisis,” says CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “Throughout history our nation’s truck drivers have been called upon to support Canada, assist Canadians and keep our economy going. We are proud how they’ve answered the call once again during this crisis.”