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Ontario proposes changes to improve washroom access for truck drivers and delivery workers

This sign, actually posted by a business which requires the services of couriers and delivery persons to function, is a graphic illustration of the lack of respect accorded the people who kept the world’s economies running during COVID. Photo: Twitter

On October 20, the Ontario government announced it 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.

Consultations conducted by the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee have indicated that couriers, truck drivers, and people who deliver food, including those for online delivery platform are often denied use of a washroom at businesses they serve.

“For professional drivers and delivery workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for the past 19 months, the inability to access restroom facilities has been a major irritant. This legislation recognizes the essential work that these men and women have been doing and provides them with the working conditions and respect they deserve,” says Teamsters Canada president Francois Laporte.

Details of the proposed legislation were shared by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, who was joined by Deepak Anand, Parliamentary Assistant to Minister McNaughton, and Christine Hogarth, MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

“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,” said Minister McNaughton. “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 is extremely thankful to Minister McNaughton 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,” says  Stephen Laskowski, President of the Ontario Trucking Association.

At the start of the pandemic, the government opened additional rest stops for truck drivers to provide them with more places to safely stop and keep critical products moving. The proposed change is another step by the government to show respect and fairness to hardworking couriers and truck drivers

In 2020, on average, 203,700 people in Ontario were working as transport, bus, taxi and delivery drivers while 30,800 people in Ontario were working as mail, couriers, messengers and door-to-door distributors.

The proposed new measures only apply to businesses where workers like truck drivers, couriers or food delivery workers are picking up or delivering food or other items and are are not applicable to businesses that they are not delivering or picking up items from, or to private residences.

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