Trucker pushed out of industry due to COVID restrictions

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When it comes to saluting frontline heroes, let’s never forget the truckers. Everything you buy at a store arrived on the shelf from the back of a truck. So, the question arises: why are so many truckers being treated with such disrespect?

That is — or was — certainly the case with Jason Fleming, who has spent more than 20 years of his life hauling freight down the highway. But life as a trucker under the Wuhan virus protocols proved to be too problematic.

Jason’s story starts at the beginning of the pandemic almost a year ago, when for a brief period, truckers were indeed hailed as essential workers and even heroes, as they delivered the freight through thick and thin. But as Jason quips: “That status was short-lived once everybody stockpiled their toilet paper.”

And so it is that truckers, he says, “are back to their regular status of being used and abused.”

Case in point: problems with his employer began when he began complaining about the cleanliness of a washroom that drivers were supposed to use. The problem was that the washroom was used by up to 50 drivers a day, but only cleaned once a week. And some of the places he would deliver to would not allow drivers to use the loo. He was often told to do his business outside.

As well, Jason has a medical exemption from wearing a mask. But that led to all sorts of grief via the various COVID-Karens who demanded that he mask up.

He notes that driving a tractor and a 53-foot trailer through the streets of the Greater Toronto Area was stressful enough in normal times. COVID-19 hysteria has only made things worse for Jason, who struggles with diabetes and sleep apnea.

Eventually, a healthcare professional prescribed the use of a support dog to help alleviate his stress. Ironically, this led to even more stress, as Jason claims he was wrongfully suspended from work and forced to resign because his employer would not allow his dog to accompany him in his truck, stating that this was against company policy. Jason opted for the dog’s company, rather than logging a single additional kilometre behind the wheel of a big rig.

These days, Jason is in the process of suing his former employer for constructive dismissal and rights violations. And he’s done with trucking, noting that he’s now looking for a new career that is less stressful and more civil.

We wish him well.

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  • By David Menzies

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