The Province of Ontario is calling on businesses to show support to truck drivers by welcoming them to rest, get gas, and use the washroom amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, made the plea on Thursday morning.
“In these extraordinary times, we have extraordinary heroes. Our truck drivers are these heroes. They are working long hours, day and night delivering food and equipment and other essential supplies for Ontario families,” they said in a joint statement.
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“Our truck drivers deserve our respect, our support, our thanks, and our best efforts to help them as they continue to make sure we can put food on our tables and pick up other necessary items.”
The ministers said they have heard reports from individuals in the trucking industry about facing adversity while on the job. They say that businesses supporting truck drivers will keep them safe, healthy, and on the road, enabling them to continue to do their important work.
“We expect businesses who rely on truck drivers to provide necessary facilities for these heroes. We need everyone to do their part to make sure drivers can keep doing their jobs safely,” they said.
The ministers also said that the province is providing more safe places for truck drivers to stop and rest, all across Ontario, and all 23 ONroute travel plazas are open for take-out, grab-and-go, and drive-through services.
This includes washrooms, which are undergoing enhanced cleaning.
Further, portable washrooms are being provided at 32 truck inspection stations, so truck drivers have a place to stop and rest safely.
“These actions build on measures announced last month that allow the 24-hour delivery of goods without the restrictions of municipal noise by-laws, and the extension of the validation of driver’s licences, Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration certificates and other products that expired on or after March 1, 2020,” the ministers said.
“We would like to thank commercial carriers and truck drivers for everything that they’ve done to keep goods moving during the COVID-19 outbreak.”