Be on the lookout for possible disruptions in your commute on Thursday as truck drivers ride their way through the CTA’s main roads with the “Freedom Rally”. The convoy, driven by a group of truck drivers and their supporters who were opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, worked through Saskatchewan and Manitoba on Tuesday and is now on its way to Toronto.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the Freedom Rally and what are they protesting against?

As of January 15, the federal government has required Canadian truck drivers to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a 14-day quarantine when moving from the United States to Canada. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign drivers will be sent back to the US

Federal Labor Secretary Seamus O’Regan also announced that vaccination would become mandatory for workers in all federally regulated industries, although no timeline has been set.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, which denounced the convoy protest, says more than 85 percent of the 120,000 Canadian truck drivers who regularly travel across the Canada-US border have been vaccinated, but that as many as 16,000 could be set aside. due to the new restriction.

Several industry and business groups have worked hard against the new rule, including the country’s largest association of small and medium-sized enterprises, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. CFIB President Dan Kelly argued on Wednesday that the vaccine mandate creates supply shortages and drives up shipping costs.

However, other experts said that while the circulation of food does not help set the drivers aside, the mandate is not primarily responsible for shortages at grocery stores.

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Last Sunday, a group of drivers calling themselves the “Freedom Rally” left Delta, BC, on a week-long trip to Ottawa, where they plan to demonstrate at Parliament Hill this weekend.

The large group of vehicles, which are reportedly sometimes 20 kilometers long, picked up support as it traveled across the country. The event appears to be hosted by a group called Canadian Unity, and the convoy’s Facebook page picked up more than 180,000 followers, and as of Wednesday afternoon, the group had raised more than $ 5 million on GoFundMe.

Ottawa police estimate that there could be up to 2,000 protesters in the city this weekend. Truck drivers will also join the convoy at Parliament Hill from eastern Canadian provinces as well as from the US

What does this mean for traffic?

The main convoy seems to be avoiding downtown. According to Canadian Unity’s website, the convoy is expected to depart from Vaughan Mills Mall on Thursday afternoon, heading south on Highway 400, before taking the 407 east on its way to Napanee and Kingston. Other drivers are expected to join the convoy from Sarnia, Windsor and Niagara via the QEW, Highway 400, Highway 401 and Highway 427.

According to Ontario Provincial Police, there may be disruptions on the following highways and highways tomorrow:

The OPP encourages managers to plan ahead and expect delays from Thursday to Saturday. The Toronto organizer of the truck convoy, Dave Steenburg, said they are working closely with the OPP. “Safety is a key priority when we go through (Toronto). Lanes will be left open for traffic to merge safely on and off the highway, ”Steenburg said.

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Reference-www.thestar.com

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