The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has been working with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to further clarify the increased powers of public health officials to collect the personal information of truck drivers at some Canadian ports of entry (POE) when crossing into Canada.
CBSA states the collection of information is meant to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 and potential public health risks that could arise from border crossers.
CBSA has provided further information to CTA regarding the collecting of this information at certain POE’s, and plans from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to expand the collection of data from truck drivers beyond the current list of ports moving forward:
CBSA began collecting contact information on March 31 for all travellers (symptomatic and asymptomatic) entering Canada who are subject to mandatory quarantine or isolation. The majority of passages to date have been exempt persons, and no contact information has been collected from this population. However, based on the needs of provinces and territories, PHAC is now responsible for promoting compliance and conducting potential follow-up activities with exempt persons as well. Without contact information, this activity is not possible.
Therefore, on June 30, CBSA started collecting more information from persons (all travellers, including commercial drivers) exempt from quarantine at six POEs:
- St Stephen 3rd Bridge
- Queenston-Lewiston Bridge
- Pacific Highway
Authority to collect this information is under section 15(1) of the Quarantine Act, and section 2(1) of Order in Council 2020-0524.
Border Services Officers (BSO) are expected to input personal contact information for persons exempt from quarantine, including their email address, principle phone number and secondary phone number (if applicable) into a database that is managed by PHAC. Once collected, the information will automatically be entered into the system and not have to be taken when the driver crosses next.
Travellers who refuses to provide their information will be advised by a BSO they could be subject to additional measures, such as a requirement to undergo a health assessment. They could also be charged with an offence under the Quarantine Act. Alternatively, local police in a specific jurisdiction can issue a ticket under the Contraventions Act. If the exempt traveller continues to refuse providing their information, they will be referred to a PHAC quarantine officer.
Based on the initial phase at these six POEs, CBSA says it is now assessing and preparing a plan to extend the collection to other ports across the country. “We expect to take a phased-in approach over the next several weeks. All truck drivers should be prepared to provide personal contact information for this purpose at some point in the future,” the Agency stated.
“Our members and professional drivers have done an excellent job at not only keeping the Canadian economy moving during the COVID-19 crisis, but also leaders in implementing many new measures – CTA-Proactive Measures Covid_public – to protect themselves and fellow Canadians against the spread of COVID-19,” says Lak Shoan, Director of Policy and Industry Awareness Programs for CTA. “CTA appreciates the need for the Government of Canada to continue implementing measures to mitigate against public health risks associated with COVID-19.
CTA will continue to work with the governments to keep the economy moving while protecting the privacy and health and welfare of our professional driving community.”
CTA will provide further information on plans to expand data collection at additional POEs in the coming weeks.