Hundreds of dump trucks are set to hit Toronto highways on Thursday morning as part of a rally in protest of changes to trucking industry standards.
The road rally is scheduled to begin sometime around 9 a.m. from the Derry Road and Dixie Road area of Mississauga.
The trucks are expected to make their way to the southbound 427, eastbound Gardiner Expressway, northbound Don Valley Parkway, westbound 401 and then will disperse once they get back to the 427.
The coalition includes trucking companies, independent dump truck drivers, and members of the construction industry.
They have been staging protests as part of their Dontdumponus.ca campaign.
Peel Regional Police say roads remain congested with traffic as a result of the protests and are urging motorists to find alternate routes.
UPDATE: This convoy is now splitting into two groups. One line is travelling the EB 401 collector lanes to the SB 427 to follow the lead group, and the other is taking the collector to express transfer south of Pearson to continue east. Expect major delays. #EB401 #SB427 pic.twitter.com/VqKdSAX3GI
— 680 NEWS Traffic (@680NEWStraffic) April 15, 2021
Rule changes that took effect in January 2021 require trucks older than 15 years to undergo a retrofit at their own costs.
The coalition says the trucks that haven’t been retrofitted pose no safety risks.
The group says at least 1,000 trucks are now considered non-compliant thanks to the change in industry standards that makes the older trucks out of date. The coalition would like to see the older models grandfathered in.
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), the voice of the Ontario trucking industry since 1926, said in a statement that the industry’s concerns “should be voiced in a responsible and professional manner that does not risk or threaten public safety.”
“Rolling blockades on public highways are a threat to public safety and are not responsible or effective expressions of citizens’ or groups’ democratic right to protest,” OTA said.
“These actions are not reflective of the practices and behaviours of the vast majority of the compliant drivers and companies in our sector. OTA condemns such behaviour and encourages participants to continue to work with the Government of Ontario to resolve their issues in a peaceful manner that does not jeopardize public safety and disrupt the flow of commerce and the travel schedules of passenger vehicle drivers, particularly during a national health crisis – and immediately following a fatal accident this morning on Hwy 401, which already snarled traffic for several hours.”
Meanwhile, the coalition is calling on the Ministry of Transportation and the provincial government to help them find solutions and deal with industry issues.
“After months of protest and outreach, the Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, and Premier Doug Ford have failed to address the concerns of the industry and resolve issues,” says the campaign in a release.
Conversely, OTA says it will continue to work with the government and all members of the trucking industry “to ensure Ontario’s trucking industry is competitive and safe.”
“The Government of Ontario has actively engaged the Ontario trucking industry for over 20 years on this matter and multiple segments of the trucking industry are already in compliance with the policy,” said OTA.
“To be in compliance with SPIF, all sizes of trucking companies have invested billions of dollars in new equipment that better protects Ontario’s road infrastructure and improves vehicle safety.”
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