Local Members of Parliament Eric Duncan (Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry) and Michael Barrett (Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes) applauded the efforts of their elected counterparts south of the border as they urge the New York State Department of Health to expand their vaccination program to include truck drivers, who are deemed as essential workers, entering New York from Canada.
Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that non-New Yorkers who are tourists are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In a joint letter to New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, State Senator Patty Ritchie and State Assemblyman Mark Walczyk requested clarification regarding whether the expanded eligibility includes commercial truckers entering New York from Canada.
Currently it is not clear if the eligibility would apply to Canadian truck drivers. They have asked the Health Commissioner to clarify and definitely expand the eligibility in the same manner that other border states in Western Canada and the United States have already done.
MP Duncan said he was delighted to hear the news of a possible expansion.
“I am delighted to see the advocacy that is being done by my counterparts in Upstate NY to expand their vaccination program to include those Canadians crossing the border with essential goods. We understand that the economic relationship between the North Country and Eastern Ontario is one of mutual benefit. The sooner we can vaccinate more people, the sooner we can start the process of re-opening the border and resuming cross border visits and our normal trade relations.”
MP Barrett said, “I am grateful for the efforts of our neighbouring US representatives to include essential Canadian truck drivers in the State of New York’s vaccination program. The opportunity for Canadian truck drivers to be vaccinated and protected sooner is an important step towards our goal for the safe reopening of the Canada-US border, and I look forward to continuing the work with our counterparts on the shared economic and social ties between our two countries and our border communities.”