by Today’s Trucking
April 13, 2020
TORONTO, Ont. – Ontario has opened seasonal rest areas across the province to help truck drivers during the fight against Covid-19, the Ministry of Transportation confirmed Monday.
“Parking and toilets are now available at all 23 ONroute travel plazas, 45 rest areas, 32 truck inspection stations, 14 truck laybys, three Tourist Info Centres, one Metrolinx GO station, five Metrolinx Park-n-Rides and one carpool lot,” the ministry said in an email to Today’s Trucking.
Six of the rest areas are open year-round, while 39 are seasonal, it said.
There have been complaints from truckers that they are being denied access to restrooms. Many stores have limited access because of fears staff would contract the virus.
Plans for the seasonal rest areas were first announced last week by Transport Minister Caroline Mulroney.
“The Covid crisis in which we all find ourselves in now has really identified for us how essential truck drivers really are to our economy,” she told Ramz Punjabi radio.
Mulroney said efforts are underway to communicate the latest information about rest areas to the drivers.
“We want to make sure that truck drivers have up-to-date information on where they can rest, where they can use the facilities where they can get coffee and food.”
The minister said she discussed the issue with a large group of stakeholders from the trucking industry.
“I was so disappointed to hear that this (denial of access) has been going on, especially in the midst of a pandemic,’ Mulroney said.
She said the government is also working with partners from the private sector to help provide more facilities so that truck drivers can get the kind of support they need.
“I want to thank all truck drivers for what they’re doing to keep us fed and to keep us healthy and working. We will continue to support our trucking industry throughout this.”
All levels of government have repeatedly voiced their support for truck drivers over the past two months.
This story has been updated to include comments from the MTO.