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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing ahead with a vaccine mandate for international truckers despite increasing pressure from critics who say it will exacerbate driver shortages and drive up the price of goods imported from the United States. Canada will require all truckers entering from the United States to show proof of vaccination starting on Saturday as part of its fight against COVID-19. That could force some 16,000, or 10%, of cross-border drivers off the roads, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates. The government estimates 5% of drivers will be impacted, according to a government source. The mandate is the first policy measure taken since the pandemic began that could limit cross-border trucking traffic. Trucks crossed the border freely when the border was closed for 20 months because they were considered essential to keep supply chains flowing. Industry groups and opposition parties say it is a bad idea, especially at a time when the Bank of Canada is eyeing its first interest rate increase since October 2018. “We’re going to see prices skyrocket for groceries, for everything, if we see tens of thousands of truckers unemployed,” Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole said on Thursday, adding there could be “reasonable accommodations” like regular testing.

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