Ontario government agenda includes washroom access for drivers, ELDs

Ontario is expected to become the first North American jurisdiction that will require businesses to provide washroom access to truck drivers, building on a series of government initiatives taken during the pandemic.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney addresses members of the Ontario Trucking Association during the group’s annual meeting. (Photo: John G. Smith)

“The issues facing truck drivers during the pandemic were incredibly tough to hear about, and many of them came down to a lack of common decency,” Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said, in a speech to the Ontario Trucking Association’s annual convention.

Highlighting a series of trucking-related accomplishments, Mulroney referred to added parking and washroom facilities offered at inspections stations, laybys and rest areas, as well as a trucker mode on the Ontario 511 app that directs drivers to available services. Many of those actions came as private businesses refused to admit truck drivers during the height of pandemic-related lockdowns.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in a short time,” Mulroney said.

The coming legislation takes a further step by requiring factories, warehouses, restaurants and stores alike to offer the washroom access to drivers making their deliveries.

“If passed, this will make Ontario the first and the only place in North America where the right for truckers to use a washroom on the job is protected,” Mulroney said.

The minister also highlighted the Ministry of Transportation’s partnership with the Ontario Trucking Association.

“I am so proud of the partnership that we have with the Ontario Trucking Association, which has truly helped to inform a lot of the work that we do with the Ministry of Transportation – and this was especially true at the height of the pandemic,” Mulroney said.

Other changes she highlighted including plans to mandate electronic logging devices (ELDs) for inter-provincial carriers as of June 12, 2022, and planned highway projects including the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413. Ontario previously committed to enforcing an ELD mandate for federally regulated carriers, but it is the first government to announce a mandate that would apply to trucks that never cross provincial borders.

“Without further action, things will only get worse. More gridlock. More traffic. More emissions. More time wasted. And more opportunities missed,” Mulroney said of the need to invest in infrastructure.