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Ford government to mandate washroom access for delivery drivers

If passed, the new law would require businesses to allow delivery workers access to their washrooms so long as they are picking up or dropping off an item.
truck stop/cp
A truck exits at the Hefner Road exit of I-35 in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 20, 2020. Truck drivers face an uphill challenge as rest stops shut down and owners bar access to washrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Sue Ogrocki

Finding a place to use the washroom has been a problem for the more than 200,000 delivery drivers that ply along Ontario roads.

Now the Ford government is planning to introduce legislation that will make it the law for delivery workers to have access to washrooms at businesses where they are delivering or picking up items. It will be a first of its kind law anywhere in North America.

Labour minister Monte McNaughton is bringing forward the new legislation. He tells CityNews he started sounding the alarm bell on this matter when the pandemic hit.

“I talked to many transport drivers that would go to a warehouse or a factory to drop off an order and there would be a sign on the door saying ‘go back to the woods to use the washroom.’ Truly unacceptable, it is an injustice and these heroes deserve more,” McNaughton said.

If passed, the new law would require businesses to allow delivery workers access to their washrooms so long as they are picking up or dropping off an item. This would cover truck drivers, couriers, food delivery workers and Canada Post delivery employees. It would not apply to washrooms in private residences.

Businesses who don’t comply could be fined, with the fines enforced through the Ministry of Labour.

Asked for details on how businesses could accommodate drivers in their washrooms should they, for example, have sensitive information in the office, minister McNaughton said they will have to find a way.

“They’re going to have to figure it out. These are key people in our economy that are delivering goods and it’s important,” he said.

He says food delivery workers have raised this issue as a health and safety concern, which the government felt the need to act on.

McNaughton says the move is part of the government’s broader efforts to protect vulnerable workers. On Monday, the government announced the intent to introduce legislation that, if passed, would require temporary help agencies and recruiters to have a licence to operate in the province.

The proposed new washroom mandate is getting the thumbs up from some delivery industry associations.

“The Minister saw a problem and implemented a solution that will no doubt serve as a model for other jurisdictions across North America,” said Stephen Laskowski, President and CEO, Ontario Trucking Association.

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