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Canadian truckers face insurance issues in U.S. as truck stops shut down: association

Click to play video: 'N.B. companies concerned about lack of health insurance for drivers crossing American border' N.B. companies concerned about lack of health insurance for drivers crossing American border
Several companies have voiced concerns about a lack of insurance for drivers since U.S.-Canada border restriction were put in place. But as Callum Smith reports, there are other issues that truckers are facing amid the pandemic. – Mar 19, 2020

Trucking companies in Atlantic Canada are raising a red flag over a lack of health insurance for drivers crossing the American border after new restrictions were implemented to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Some small companies have called and pointed out that their insurance, or their health insurance, wouldn’t be covered for drivers going into the U.S.,” says Jean-Marc Picard, the executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association.

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However, in a news release issues late Thursday afternoon, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association says “Canada’s life and health insurers are confirming that group out-of-country medical coverage for commercial truckers will continue uninterrupted.”

“Provisions in some group, or workplace insurance plans refer specifically to Government of Canada travel advisories as a limitation or exclusion for out-of-country medical coverage,” spokesperson Kevin Dorse says in the release.

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“Some commercial trucking employers offer plans with this exclusion.”

Jean-Marc Picard, the executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, says a few companies have had issues with lack of health insurance coverage for drivers crossing the Canadian-American border amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Callum Smith / Global News

Picard says the issue of immigrant drivers, several of whom are temporary foreign workers crossing the border and being denied re-entry, has been resolved following clarification from the federal government indicating truckers, among others in the trade and transportation sector, are exempt from the isolation rules.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association wants clarity on new border rules

But while trucks are “flowing well across the border,” Picard says it’s not necessarily smooth sailing for the drivers on the ground.

“Some truck stops in the U.S. are starting to close, and Canada as well, limited access, restaurants are closed, take-out only,” which means in some cases there are no places to shower or relax.

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Vaughn Sturgeon, the president of Warren Group, a transportation, warehouse, logistics business, says his drivers are covered by insurance.

But he says people need to realize the role the transportation sector plays.

“Obviously, essentials, food…, those sorts of things, they’ve become a very high priority to move,” he says. “These are the people standing between all of us and empty shelves every day.”

Picard says as one of the few industries that is still fully operational, it’s nice to see some appreciation during the unprecedented times.

“I’m hearing some stories that people are bringing food to truck drivers if they see them,” he says. “Bring them wipes, bring them sanitizing wipes.”

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