House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Garneau:
RE: Automatic licence renewals and medicals for transit and commercial truck drivers
I am writing to you today on behalf of the nearly 22,000 road transportation workers across the country represented by Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector.
It has recently come to our attention that many transit and commercial truck drivers1 are facing expired, or soon to be expired, driving licences. Many of these licence renewals require the submission of a medical report to be completed by a physician or health care practitioner. Due to the current global COVID-19 health epidemic, we feel that healthy drivers showing no symptoms of illness be exempt from providing a medical report in order to ease the burden already being placed on our overstretched public health care system.
In addition, commercial drivers are facing increased workloads as the demand by Canadians and businesses for basic goods and essential supplies surges. As such, the time needed in order renew a licence does little in the way of maintaining the integrity, efficiency and speed of our supply chains.
During this crisis, valuable and strained health care resources should not be placed to handle medical examinations for transit drivers and truck drivers, but rather patients who are feeling genuinely ill and require immediate medical assistance. Nor should the economy be further jeopardized by slowing down the shipment and movement of people and goods across the country.
We are therefore calling for the immediate and temporary automatic renewal of all transit and commercial truck licences. We thank you for taking the time in considering this important matter and would be pleased to discuss this further in detail if requested.
1 This includes: Transit and bus drivers Class B and C, heavy couriers such as Class A or D and transport/tractor trailer drivers Class A/Class 1