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

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

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Murray Casey, president of the Stemete7uw’i Friendship Centre, hosted an online Shuswap language workshop April 27. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
‘Weyt-k’? It’s time to learn Shuswap

More than two dozen participants took part in online class to learn basic Secwepemc phrases

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Most Read