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

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Traffic redirected after crash on McKenzie Avenue

Saanich Police responded to Thursday evening collision

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read