The Ontario government intends to introduce legislation that would allow delivery workers access to use the washroom facilities at businesses where they are delivering or picking up loads. Consultations conducted by the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee have indicated that couriers, truck drivers, and other transportation workers are often denied the use washrooms at businesses they serve.
Today’s announcement made by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, is part of the government’s broader efforts to protect and support vulnerable workers, including truck drivers who have helped keep the economy moving through the pandemic by delivering the essential goods, food and medicine Canadians need.
“The Ontario Trucking Association 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,” said OTA President and CEO Stephen Laskowski.
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.”
Today’s announcement is the latest example of the Ford Government’s support for the trucking industry and truck drivers throughout the pandemic, added Laskowski. In the early days of COVID-19, government leaders publicly demanded that companies in the supply chain provide washroom access to truck drivers and that restaurants not discriminate against truck drivers by refusing food service. At that time, while long-haul drivers found washroom facilities to come by, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, directed the MTO to immediately install portable washrooms and provided parking at 32 truck inspection stations across the province.
These actions are on top of previous announcements to improve14 existing truck rest areas, build 10 new rest areas and add 178 additional truck parking spaces at four existing ONroute travel plazas, along with other initiatives focused on Northern Ontario.
“It’s great to see how the Ford Government’s ongoing verbal support for the trucking industry is followed-up with action,” said Laskowski. “Ontario continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the trucking industry throughout the COVID pandemic to help keep the province’s economy moving.”
OTA will be reviewing this new legislation and will provide details to members on what drivers can expect from customers once it’s implemented.