Approximately 2,000 Saskatchewan residents are eligible for the program
Saskatchewan and North Dakota have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to vaccinate essential workers who are transporting goods across the United States and Canadian border.
“Trade with the United States is essential for the Saskatchewan economy,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. “These essential workers are crossing the border to ensure our residents and those in the United States have access to the goods and services they need to get through this pandemic. This extraordinary level of cooperation helps protect more Canadians at a time when vaccine availability in America exceeds that of Canada, and we thank Governor Burgum for working with our province to make this happen.”
Approximately 2,000 Saskatchewan residents are eligible for the program.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation's rest area near Drayton, N.D., is currently serving as a vaccination site for truck drivers originating in Manitoba. Saskatchewan truck drivers are eligible for vaccination there since April 28. Vaccinations are available from noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Meanwhile, an additional vaccination site has been approved near the Saskatchewan border crossing at North Portal to vaccinate Saskatchewan truck drivers as well as essential energy workers who regularly cross the border. An appropriate location for this site was being determined as of the publishing of the press release.
“Protecting the health and safety of essential workers crossing our shared border with Saskatchewan, including truck drivers and energy workers, is vitally important for public health, our economy and the eventual safe reopening of the border,” said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. “We are grateful to Premier Moe for his partnership on this initiative, which will ensure the safe delivery of goods and services across the border and strengthen the longstanding friendly relationship between North Dakota and our northern neighbours.”
The North Dakota Department of Health will provide the staff and infrastructure to administer vaccinations. There will be no cost for the vaccination program to either the State of North Dakota or the Province of Saskatchewan.
In March, the Canadian federal government also announced it is investing up to $7.8 million through the Emergency Processing Fund for the safety of workers at 24 meat processing companies across the Prairies.
This is a welcome development, according to Susan Ewart, executive director of the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA).
“The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) knows how critical vaccines are to fighting COVID-19 and is pleased to see the partnership between North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Providing necessary vaccines to professional drivers and oil field workers crossing the border will ensure the safety and protection of these workers as they continue to drive the economy,” said Ewart.
Canadian provincial governments are not spending enough to support essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
Main Image Caption: “Protecting the health and safety of essential workers crossing our shared border with Saskatchewan, including truck drivers and energy workers, is vitally important for public health, our economy and the eventual safe reopening of the border.”