Truckers' 'Freedom Rally' convoy passes through Windsor on way to Ottawa
Mandate for cross-border truckers went into effect on Jan. 15; rally expected to take a week
A national truck convoy passed through Windsor, Ont. on Sunday, before heading toward Ottawa, to protest the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truck drivers who cross the Canada-United States border.
Transport trucks choked Huron Church Road in a protest by some drivers, demonstrating against pandemic lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
Windsor police advised the public to avoid the area as much as possible.
In a tweet at about 1 p.m. Sunday, police said the convoy was causing traffic delays from the roundabout on Huron Church Road to the Ambassador Bridge.
The convoy is expected to continue until Jan. 26.
In November, the federal government announced new protocols for unvaccinated people travelling across the Canada-U.S. border. Part of that announcement included changes in the new year for groups of travellers who were exempt from entry requirements, such as truck drivers.
As of Jan. 15, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Canadian truck drivers, among others, entering the country must get a PCR test outside of Canada within 72 hours of planned entry; get tested when they arrive; and then self-test on Day 8 of a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
Canada Unity, an anti-public-health-mandate group, organized the truck convoy to Ottawa. According to the group's website, the convoy should arrive in the country's capital by Jan. 29.
CTA denounces protest
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), a national federation of provincial trucking associations, issued a statement Sunday, denouncing protests on highways, roads and bridges — while suggesting lawful protest on Parliament Hill.
"CTA believes such actions — especially those that interfere with public safety — are not how disagreements with government policies should be expressed," the statement said.
The federation suggests members opt to hold organized protests on Parliament Hill, or contact their local MP, according to the statement.
The CTA says most people in the industry are vaccinated and that the vaccination rate among truck drivers is similar to that of the general public.