Truck drivers and delivery workers often find it difficult to access washrooms while they work long hours on the road.
The Ontario government intends to introduce legislation that would, if passed, allow delivery workers access to company washrooms at businesses where they are delivering or picking up items, according to a news release.
Consultations conducted by the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee have indicated that truck drivers, couriers, and people who deliver food, including those for online delivery platform companies such as SkipTheDishes, are often denied use of a washroom at businesses they serve.
Details were shared Wednesday by Monte McNaughton, minister of labor, training and skills development.
“This is something most people in Ontario take for granted but access to washrooms is a matter of common decency currently being denied to hundreds of thousands of workers in this province,” McNaughton said.
“Workers who deliver and pick up goods have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, ensuring that essential supplies continue to reach the people of Ontario. Providing these hardworking men and women with access to washrooms is a small change that will make a big difference, so they can do their jobs with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) praised the announcement.
“The OTA is extremely thankful to Mr. McNaughton and the Ford government for recognizing our drivers as the true heroes they are and encouraging everyone in the supply chain to do their part in treating drivers with respect. The minister saw a problem and implemented a solution that will no doubt serve as a model for other jurisdictions across North America,” OTA president and CEO Stephen Laskowski said in a news release.
The announcement comes at a critical time for the trucking industry, which is experiencing an acute driver shortage. Trucking companies – and truck drivers in particular – are already facing immense supply chain pressures during the pandemic. As a result of this capacity crunch, any shippers who continuously disrespect truck drivers risk being deselected as customers.
“Our province’s truck drivers deserve our respect, our support, our thanks and our best efforts to help them do their jobs so Ontarians can put food on our tables and have access to the goods we need,” said Laskowski. “We are encouraged this announcement will give truck drivers access to the necessary facilities wherever they may be working.”
The announcement is part of the government’s broader efforts to protect and support vulnerable workers, such as those who have kept essential goods moving and the economy going through the pandemic.
The OTA will be reviewing this new legislation and will provide details to members on what drivers can expect from customers once it’s implemented.
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