This “milk crate inside the shower” is meant to make the facilities accessible, says driver Tyler Meldrum. Photo: Tyler Meldrum
COVID has highlighted the hypocrisy of businesses which need truck drivers to stay in business, but refuse to let these very drivers use their washrooms.
The situation is even more dire for drivers who need accessible facilities at highway rest stops. Shelly Walker of the the Women’s Trucking Federation Canada (WTFC) is taking steps to address the situation.
“We sent a letter to Carla Qualtrough, the federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, and her office has gotten back to us to set up a meeting,” says Walker.
Although Walker had already been in touch with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, she maintains, “It’s not just an Ontario issue. It’s a Canada wide issue. You know, at one particular highway stop, they’ve taken the handicap shower and are using it for storage.
“WTFC is asking, ‘Where are the rights for people with a disability? Why is there not any enforcement of these requirements on the businesses making money from truck drivers?'”
Qualtrough points out that all truckers on the road, with disabilities or not, must meet every requirement set out in law and pay all fees and licenses dictated by government: “So why are businesses along the route not required to meet the law as well, by providing accessible facilities?”
Along her the letter and meeting request, Walker sent Qualtrough two short videos shot by a truck driver Tyler Meldrum illustrating inaccessible facilities that literally have mould growing in the shower, which was set up with a milk carton – ostensibly, for wheel-chair using patrons to sit on while showering.
Walker’s letter to Minister Carla Qualtrough reads:
Good morning, Minister Qualtrough,
I’m writing to you in hopes you will take the time to listen to our concerns and hopefully open up future dialogs to address these serious issues.
Tyler Meldrum is a 32-year old professional driver from the Atlantic Provinces. Tyler works for an Interprovincial Carrier. Tyler is bound to a wheelchair but he doesn’t let that stop him from doing a job he loves. ‘Right across this country, drivers like Tyler don’t have access to accessible parking or showers.
This type of treatment is dehumanizing and shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
I have two videos that Tyler made that I would like to share with you.
Please help us help drivers like Tyler.
Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.
Take care & safe travels
Shelley Walker (Uvanile-Hesch)
CEO Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada