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

Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension faces potential delays due to COVID-19

Pandemic ‘adversely’ impacting TransLink’s finances; ‘much work’ required to approve next investment plan

Langley City’s Community Day will go virtual

Details are being worked out next week as to what efforts will replace the June 20 festival

Twilight Drive-In reopens with concession sales approved by Fraser Health, owner says

100 cars of people will now watch films, planning to adhere to new provincial health 50-car capacity

Fraser Health takes charge of COVID response at Langley Lodge

Fraser Health is also sending in a germ-killing machine to fight the virus

Asian giant “murder hornets” found in Brookswood

Langley is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

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

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

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

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

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

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Chilliwack teachers, assistants concerned with lack of PPE guidelines ahead of school reopening

As schools get ready to open, many worry measures won’t be enough to protect students from COVID-19

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

Most Read