The Ontario government has created a new system that will make it easier for truck drivers to gain access to COVID-19 testing through a partnership with DriverCheck. The new program is part of the government’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
“Expanding access to testing will help keep our truck drivers safe as they move essential goods throughout Ontario and across the border. We thank Ontario’s truck drivers for everything they do to keep goods moving so that families have access to the goods they rely on every day.”Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation
The 8-week program was created to make it easier for truck drivers to get tested for COVID-19, particularly for long-haul cross-border drivers who spend significant amounts of time on the road in the United States. As part of the program, truck drivers will have access to voluntary testing on a first-come, first-served basis at specific locations with high volume truck traffic, including Kitchener and Ayr, as well as a mobile option. The program also includes mobile testing to reach 10 carrier locations.
The project will be carried out by DriverCheck, a private sector company which currently administers drug and alcohol testing for the trucking industry. Further, the program will be run in phases, from July 8 until September 8, 2020. According to DriveCheck, the Province of Ontario will cover all costs associated with the program, so there will be no charges to the truck drivers or companies using the testing service.
The province implemented the testing program as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decrease in Ontario. However, cross-border truck drivers spending time in the U.S. have an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, where the number of cases continues to soar.
“With this pilot project for truck drivers, we will be able to find cases faster, intervene earlier, reduce the spread and save lives. As the province carefully reopens, it is critical that we all continue to follow public health advice such as practicing physical distancing, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and washing your hands thoroughly and frequently.”Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health
According to DriveCheck, the COVID-19 testing project is designed to accomplish the following aims:
· Provide delivery options to increase the accessibility of testing for truck drivers
· Increase access to healthcare professionals to help with their COVID-19 related questions and concerns
· Help the government understand the level of testing needed to support long haul, cross border truck drivers