Normand Chouinard is a trucker in the retail trade sector.
we talk about trucking in Canada and the life of truckers, we are
speaking about trucking within Canada as well as cross border trucking.
What stands out most about the working life of truckers since the
beginning of the pandemic is their organizing to give themselves a
collective voice. Their insistence that their safety be guaranteed as
the condition for the supply chain to be provided with a guarantee has
been relentless. They immediately demanded that basic sanitary
standards be maintained everywhere and that the necessary arrangements
to carry out their work safely be established all along the highways,
both at private service points and public rest areas. They have even
issued requests to their respective companies to ensure that suppliers,
shippers and customers respect the sanitary measures put in place by
Public Health authorities.
When the first shutdowns occurred in
April/May 2020, there was enormous pressure on the transport workers to
move goods at all costs, without measures being taken to protect them.
The resistance of the truckers meant that changes were relatively quick
and accommodations were made and health measures were taken. Amongst
other things, over the past year, the trucking community has worked
hard to build advocacy organizations. This was particularly the case in
the United States where actions took place everywhere and truckers made
themselves heard during rallies in front of various state capitols, and
organized an action in front of the White House that lasted nearly 20
days. During these 20 days, the truckers organized themselves to
guarantee their needs in food and sanitary measures and they held
street discussions and several other activities. The situation is
similar in Quebec and Canada. Truckers are stepping up their work to
create the organizations that they need to ensure their safety, despite
the difficulties posed by the pandemic.
adopting some safety measures for truckers, the reality has been that
truckers' work rates have been increased to meet the demands for
consumer goods that has fluctuated wildly. There is no stability in the
pace of their work. On the contrary, the pressure to meet whatever
delivery schedules the companies dictate has been greater than ever
before. Truckers cannot get proper rest. Now, in the United States, in
the name of Bidden's humanitarian causes, all normal regulations which
apply to allowable loads and hours of work can be set aside. The
situation in both countries has created very dangerous working
conditions which have led to several work and road accidents.
U.S. truckers gathered in front of White House May
1, 2020 for an action lasting nearly 20 days
these reasons, this year's Day of Mourning in Canada had a special
character. Truckers commemorated their fallen, their injured, and all
those who, during this last very difficult year of pandemic times, have
upheld their responsibilities to ensure the constant supply of goods
for their communities while fighting relentlessly for their own safety.
Among other events, these commemorations included an online event
organized by the non-profit organization Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
in Truckers which hosted a virtual session on May 1. Labour
organizations, both national and local, also held Day of Mourning
The Day of Mourning and May Day this year were
opportunities to reaffirm the main demands of the truckers' movement,
which are the uncompromising improvement of their working conditions
through the direct participation of transportation workers in the
modernization of the Canada Transportation Act
and the improvement of all conditions throughout the transportation
industry. This includes the right to have a say in the establishment
and enforcement of regulations, but, more importantly, the inherent
right to define the direction of laws and regulations that affect them,
including ensuring their own safety.
This article was published in
Voluem [volume] Number [issue] - May 4, 2021 - No. 40