On behalf of the membership of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), I wish to say thank you to the men and women of the highway – the professional truck drivers – for sacrificing as you do, to ensure our essential needs are available for us every day.
Drivers have a tough job. As a longhaul driver in the past, I fully appreciate the sacrifices you make.
Time away from family, friends, missed events and special moments in life, in order to do the job you love, and ensure goods and services get to their final destination. In normal times, you struggle to find access to a clean washroom with heat and running water, a safe place to park, and a place to sit down and have a warm meal.
Since Covid lockdowns started in North America in March 2020, access to the above-mentioned facilities became even harder to access. Unfortunately, indoor access was denied to drivers at many places, including the locations where you dropped off supplies that the facilities needed.
To those who refuse drivers access to a clean washroom in which to look after their own hygiene, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you have not already, you need to make the changes required to ensure each driver delivering or picking up at your facility has access to a proper washroom. Drivers deserve to be respected and treated with dignity. A portapotty in the parking lot is not providing the respect that is deserved.
When the supply chain is sailing along smoothly, no one notices drivers. You are an invisible cog in a well running machine. Early in the lockdowns, when drivers were declared essential workers, the spotlight finally shone on the driver and the key link the driver plays in ensuring products and services get to us was recognized.
For a brief period of time, drivers were heroes and thanked regularly by the public and government officials alike for the job they were doing.
While this adulation may have waned, there are still great programs out there. NAL Insurance developed the Thank a Trucker program, which provided free meals and in-person thank-yous to drivers. The program continues and now includes a Trucker of the Month recognition program.
I just read a great story about an elderly lady who goes around a truck stop and hand-delivers thank you and Christmas cards to drivers. A driver I talk to regularly sent me a picture of a container of cookies that was delivered to him from a lady as a thank you for what he does. She had baked hundreds of packages of cookies at home and was delivering them to drivers to say thank you.
We hear all the negative stories, and we know there are lots of them. At this time of year, I also think it is important we pause and remember the good stories as well.
While it may not always look like you are appreciated, there are many people out there who appreciate all you do. Truck drivers are over 300,000 strong in Canada and are an extremely important cog in our lives. The hard-working men and women of the highway are the lifeblood of our economy. While some may not appreciate you and provide you the respect you deserve, many of us do, and we appreciate you every day.
We will continue to fight with you as best as we can to ensure you are provided the respect and dignity you deserve from industry, the public, and governments.
On behalf of the PMTC, thank you for everything you do! We also want to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season, and all the best in the new year.
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