Health Canada says the exemption is "rarely used."
A government order reportedly states that unvaccinated truck drivers are exempt from border testing and quarantine requirements, but only if they are hauling COVID-19 vaccines or similar pandemic-related items.
According to CTV News, the exemption is to cover the "urgent public health necessity" of the items being transported.
In other circumstances, truck drivers who are unvaccinated must get a pre-arrival test, quarantine, and undergo molecular testing in order to enter or return to Canada by land.
According to Health Canada, this exemption has been "rarely used" so far and requires a ministerial invitation.
A spokesperson confirmed to CTV that the exemption has been used before to help with the supply of ventilators.
Cargo that could potentially qualify unvaccinated truckers for this exemption includes goods like COVID-19 vaccines, medication, ventilators and other essential medical products that are both needed and authorized for use in Canada.
Medical devices are also reportedly covered, although Health Canada didn't confirm whether masks, gowns or COVID-19 tests are included.
It's one of several exemptions set out in an order-in-council published in January, outlining decisions made by cabinet, according to CTV.
"The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that those involved in commercial transport who are transporting medically necessary supplies remain exempt from the vaccination requirement to enter Canada," Health Canada said in a statement to CTV.
COVID-19 mandates for Canadian truck drivers have been a controversial topic across the nation over the last two months in particular. The Freedom Convoy — which is protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other government-imposed public health measures — was sparked by mandatory vaccination rules for truckers at the Canada-U.S. land border.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.