Reviewing the Ropes: Government commits to solving border issues for supply chain workers

Ottawa, Ontario — Members of Canada’s automotive supply chain are waiting in eager anticipation as federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair committed to addressing the slew of complaints surrounding inconsistent enforcement at the Canada-U.S. border for essential workers.

In a virtual meeting with the president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA), Flavio Volpe, on Tuesday, Blair stated that the government will be performing a quick review of the current border enforcement policy for supply chain workers.

This news comes after months of reports from essential workers in the automotive industry, particularly in the Windsor, Ont. area, saying that vital business is being impacted by obstacles in crossing into the U.S., such as being forced to quarantine for extended periods of time upon arrival, or being denied entry altogether, seemingly at the whim of individual border agents.

“We expect that we’re going to see some substantive clarification in days, and that’s very helpful,” Volpe said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m expecting specific clarification that’s going to make it easier for essential automotive people to do their job. And we have that commitment from Minister Blair and from the [Canada Border Services Agency]…. I think that we’ve broken through here.”

Volpe also made the claim that essential supply chain work in the auto parts sector poses a relatively small health risk and that he simply wants clarification for workers.

A spokeswoman for Blair, Mary-Liz Power, said that the government, while maintaining public health as the first priority, wants to acknowledge that current COVID protocols are adaptive and that they are open to working alongside manufacturers for a solution.

“The government is listening to all sectors of the economy as it develops further protocols to identify and enforce restrictions for essential travellers, including technicians from the auto sector,” said Power, via email.

“We have been clear that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic will adapt quickly to this rapidly evolving public health threat.”


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