Canadian truck drivers say they faced intense discrimination during the first wave of COVID-19 due to “one-size-fits-all” regulations that left little consideration for truckers and their specific needs.
“Life on the road is challenging at the best of times, and we are not living at the best of times,” Manitoba Trucking Association executive director Terry Shaw said in a statement, reported Glacier Farm Media.
“We received regular reports of truck drivers being removed from retail stores and restaurants simply because they had been out of province as essential workers,” said Shaw.
“We received a number of reports of family members of truck drivers being removed from their employment simply because they lived with a truck driver.”
Canadian restaurants were shut down, restrooms were closed, mechanics shops performed maintenance in an extremely limited capacity, and even delivery yards barred drivers from leaving their truck during the first round of COVID-regulations, leaving truck drivers, as essential as they are, with nowhere to go.
“Normal connections within the supply chain broke down pretty quickly,” said Shaw, adding that policymakers appeared to not even consider the needs of essential truck drivers during their implementation of the COVID-19 regulations.
“Policymakers need to be very cautious about one-size-fits-all policy as well as understanding policy conflicts,” Shaw said.
“We need our policymakers to adjust problematic policy much more quickly.”
Since then, Canadian policymakers have made changes that make COVID-19 regulations easier for truck drivers to live with, but Shaw says that he hopes 2020 serves as a lesson on attention to detail, particularly when it comes to an industry as crucial as trucking.
“This positive change shows that the system can respond quickly.”