Ontario Provincial Washroom Mandate Should Include Transit Operators Says Amalgamated Transit Union Canada


TORONTO - ATU Canada is decrying the new washroom access mandate from the Ford government saying that it must include transit operators. 

Ford’s Minister of Labour, Monte McNaughton announced this morning that the 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. The legislation would cover a large breadth of delivery workers and transport drivers including truck drivers, couriers, food delivery workers and Canada Post delivery employees but leaves out transit workers. 

 “There is no reason why transit workers should have been left out of this legislation.” Said ATU Canada President John Di Nino.“Access to bathrooms is a health and safety problem for all those in the transport sector and our union has been leading the fight for years so this announcement as well as the lack of consultation comes as a slap in the face.”

For years, operators have avoided drinking water during the workday, relieved themselves into bottles or on the street, and even soiled themselves in the line of duty. The problem is especially prevalent for pregnant and older operators, those with medical conditions of the bladder or bowels, and for people taking diuretic medication. A 2011 study published in Neurology and Urodynamics revealed that driving with an extreme urge to use the bathroom affects attention and thinking – equal to that of staying awake for 24 hours or a .05% blood alcohol content, close to the legal limit.

An ATU survey of bus operators found that 82% say they try to “hold it in” to cope with a lack of access. The survey also found 68% of bus operators say they avoid eating and drinking altogether to cope with a lack of access. Meanwhile, 26% of operators report having soiled themselves on duty because they lacked restroom access and 37% report having urinary tract or bladder infections. 

“Employees of all industries and sectors deserve access to a clean, safe bathroom; this is about dignity, respect, and safety,” said ATU International President John Costa, who pointed out the ATU has been fighting for bathroom access and clean facilities in both countries for many years. “We wouldn’t tolerate this sort of treatment for someone who worked in an office so why should we tolerate it for our essential transit workers?”


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