Ministers rally behind truckers

by Abdul Latheef

Ministers

TORONTO, Ont. – Two senior Ontario ministers issued a joint statement Thursday, supporting truck drivers during the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In these extraordinary times, we have extraordinary heroes. Our truck drivers are these heroes,” said Christine Elliott, deputy premier and minister of health, and Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation.

“They are working long hours, day and night delivering food and equipment and other essential supplies for Ontario families,” the ministers said.

It was the latest statement issued by the government of Premier Doug Ford amid complaints from truckers that they are being denied access to restrooms. Many stores have been limiting access because of fears of contracting the virus.

On Monday, Labor Minister Monte McNaughton had sharply criticized businesses over the issue.

“We have heard from those working within the trucking industry of the treatment that truck drivers have faced while traveling on our roads,” Elliott and Mulroney said.

In response, they said, they are calling on all business owners to support truck drivers when they are stopping to rest, get gas or use washrooms.

“This will better keep our truck drivers safe and healthy and on the road.”

The ministers also said that they expect businesses who rely on truck drivers to provide necessary facilities for them.

“As a government we are working closely with truck drivers and associations to respond to the issues they face on the road.”

It added that the province is providing more safe places for truck drivers to stop and rest across the province, and are keeping all 23 ONroute travel plazas open for takeout, grab-and-go and drive-through services, including washrooms with enhanced cleaning.

“We are also providing portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations so trucks have a place to stop and rest safely.”

Earlier, federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau urged Canadians to think for a moment about just how incredible the truck drivers are.

“They deserve our praise,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Teamsters Canada is demanding that gas stations and highway rest areas fully re-open to transportation workers.

In a statement Thursday, it also urged federal and provincial governments to pressure them into doing so if necessary.

“This is a matter of human decency. Nobody can be expected to work an entire day without using a bathroom,” said union president Francois Laporte.

“It’s a disgraceful way to treat the truck drivers and delivery workers who are essential to the functioning of our country.”

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers in Canada in all industries.

  • This story has been updated to include comments from Marc Garneau and Teamsters Canada.

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  • All of that talk about shit houses etc why not solve the biggest problem truckers have
    we need large pay increase. we are so important now to everyone because of convid- 19 soon it will be over
    and we will all be forgotten again .
    Now is the right time all drivers should stay home with there families and get some of the governments money
    they giving away Or back up the praise with a bonus pay to all o/o truckers and drivers right now
    Because we was stupid to buy a truck and ignorant to drive a truck
    Bill
    Retired

  • It’s certainly very cool that they call me a “hero”, but what next? The virus will end, and truckers will be forgotten again.
    Again they will not let us use the toilets, no one will think of banning the discriminatory salary for miles, which has been working since 1938, we will continue to work 24/7 for 12-14 hours daily, earning only 250-280 $ for 24 hours at the workplace .
    Truckers are a low-skilled profession, even a hairdresser is higher … Therefore, young Canadians do not want to come into this unpromising business, in which stagnation has been twenty years and more.

  • Every one is saying truckers are Hero!s than turn around an treat them like dirt by not allowing sanity washrooms for there use. I drove and delivered meat products direct to the stores and restaurants for 30 years and know the treatment received at the back doors.

  • Ride the wave boys and girls because when this is over we’ll go back down to zeroes faster than we became heroes. Sorry to sound so negative but I am also a realist.

  • If employers told new hires in any occupation your work week can be up to 70 hours, those jobs would be vacant.
    I’m not treated any better than before. Sat for 2 hours waiting to be loaded up. Finally asked if they had a time line to be told they can’t load it. No one bothered to tell me and my despatch thought the customer would have told me so despatch didn’t tell me.
    Wasted time which means I didn’t get home.

  • When other people including myself tried to make them aware of trucking health care issues and poor treatment of sick , hurt and homeless truck drivers they were nowhere to be found. I would tell all truck drivers to be very careful and not trust the insurance coverage or the Ontario government.

  • I am a truck broker and making less then 50% that i usually make du to all the shut downs i don’t see the movement giving the truckers any money the money i make goes to gas truck payment insurance etc at the ends of the week i make nothing where is the money to help the truckers

  • I am one them! How about building rest areas all across the Northern parts of Ontario? Especially Hwy 11 , travelling through from Cochrane to Nipigon, and building a 4 lane Hwy right across the top end. Let’s make it safer for everyone up there. We are the backbone of this country.