Some drivers are having to go an hour outside of their regular routes just to find a bathroom. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

A union representing truck drivers and delivery workers is demanding that gas stations and highway rest areas that have been closed due to COVID-19 fully re-open for transportation workers.

In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, many highway rest areas and gas stations in B.C. have implemented limited access to facilities or are closed altogether.

That has left truck drivers struggling to finding a hot shower, quick meal or “simply a place to wash their hands,” Teamsters Canada said in a statement on Thursday (April 2).

The union’s national president, Francois Laporte, said that some workers are going days without a shower and are being forced to drive an hour outside their normal routes just to find a bathroom.

READ MORE: Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

“This is a matter of human decency,” Laporte said. “Nobody can be expected to work an entire day without using a bathroom. It’s a disgraceful way to treat the truck drivers and delivery workers who are essential to the functioning of our country.”

In B.C., gas stations and rest stops are classified as essential services, which mean they can remain open to the public so long as operators follow the advice of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in minimizing social contact.

By being declared an essential service, this also means operators who do follow protocols while the state of emergency is in effect will be protected from being held liable for damages cause by exposure to COVID-19.

With fast food restaurants operating only through drive-thru, the problem is affecting urban and local drivers just as much as it is affecting long-haul drivers, the union said.

“Truck drivers and delivery workers are vital to keeping hospitals supplied and food on store shelves. If they can’t do their job properly, we all suffer,” Laporte said. “Everyone has a breaking point and if this goes on, some drivers get sick or will simply stop showing up to work, harming the supply chain and leaving critical shipments in limbo.”

On Wednesday, during an afternoon news briefing, provincial health officer Henry said she’s aware that current provisions put in place have made it challenging for essential workers and those living on the streets to practise adequate hygiene.

“The important things are having the hand washing abilities [and] facilities being able to clean the bathrooms,” she said, adding it is her understanding that their has been effort made by the province to keep these facilities can remain open.

Black Press Media has reached out to the Ministry of Transportation for comment.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida hereditary chief named Liberal Candidate for North Coast Region

Roy Jones Jr. is named Liberal candidate for the North Coast under Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson

$3.4 million childcare centre to be built in Lax Kw’alaams

Lax Kw’alaams funding has been approved through the provincial New Spaces Fund

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Ecosocialists nominate candidate for Stikine

Edward Quinlan is the new party’s regional director for Skeena and Bulkley Valley regions

World Maritime Day – Sept. 24

Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read