Vaccine mandates in Canada now affecting pig and feed shipments
01/25/2022 // Mary Villareal // Views

The new vaccine mandates in Canada and the United States are exacerbating the shortage of truckers and railroad employees, and it's affecting the import and export of pigs and feeds as well.

According to reports, many weaned pigs can no longer be shipped to Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas due to the lack of truck drivers. Many of the pigs shipped out of Manitoba and the providence are also unable to feed and process the surge of hogs domestically, according to the general manager of Manitoba Pork, Cam Dahl.

Transport shortages have done little to help the already high feed prices, as well. With the industry already finding feed more expensive, producers are left to look further abroad for more feed because it is no longer available in Manitoba. "Operations that in the past normally produce all their own feed are having to go out and buy it at this point. And then, of course, things like soybean meal coming up out of the States is an important ingredient in making feed here in Manitoba, and that’s being constrained," he said.

Truck shipments of soybean meal from the U.S. to Manitoba are also being limited. Due to the drought last year, cattle feeders are now importing large amounts of corn and dried distillers' grains from the United States. While corn has been shipped via rail, there had been shipping delays as DDGs are trucked up from Montana.

Livestock producers also say that the vaccine mandates could worsen shipping issues, as Americans crossing into Canada need to be fully vaccinated, while Canadians must quarantine upon their return to the country.


Looking at the balance between public health and protecting businesses, Dahl noted that it is a difficult thing, especially with producers saying they can no longer get feed, or their weanlings scheduled to be shipped to the U.S. with shipments being canceled. "What is that balance and how do we achieve it? We need to work on that," he said. (Related: Food shortages begin in Canada following trucker covid vaccine mandate.)

Consumers to face higher prices and empty shelves

Canadian consumers are expected to see higher prices and emptier shelves in supermarkets and retail outlets due to disruptions stemming from the vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers.

The mandate was originally imposed by Ottawa to help curb the spread of the virus, but it has already cost six Canadian trucking companies around 10 percent of their international drivers, while many are increasing wages to lure operators during what is now known as the worst labor shortage experienced.

Dan Einwechter, chairman and chief executive officer of Challenger Motor Freight Inc. in Cambridge, Ontario, said that the prices will eventually be passed on from the sellers to the consumers.

Canada's inflation rate has already hit a 30-year high of 4.8 percent in December, and economists said that the vaccine mandates may contribute to keeping these prices higher for longer. In the U.S., meanwhile, inflation surged 7 percent on a year-on-year basis in December.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has championed vaccine requirements for federal employees as well and has since resisted pressure from the industry to delay or drop the mandates announced in November. The vaccine requirement for entry in Canada started on January 15. With more than two-thirds of the $521 billion in goods traded annually between Canada and the U.S. travel on roads, truckers were deemed essential workers and were free to travel even though the borders were closed for 20 months during the pandemic. (Related: Supply chain nightmare approaching as Canadian cross-border vaccine mandate goes into effect for U.S. truckers.)

Trudeau defended the mandate, saying that Canada's laws were "aligned" with that of the U.S. "We will continue to make sure that we are getting what we need in Canada while, as always, putting the safety and health of Canadians as our top priority," he said.

Watch the video below to learn more about how COVID mandates are affecting Canadian truckers.

This video is from the Terra Times channel on

For more updates on food and labor shortages, visit

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