Insurers commit to health coverage for truckers during COVID-19
Trucking industry calls for action on other matters complicating life on the road
Canadian truckers who feared losing private health coverage while hauling in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic got some good news on Thursday.
The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association issued a statement "confirming that group out-of-country medical coverage for commercial truckers will continue uninterrupted."
Some insurers had notified trucking companies they would not provide health insurance coverage for drivers who contract COVID-19 while hauling in the United States.
Jean-Marc Picard, executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, said he was aware of two instances of it happening.
The issue was first reported by the SaltWire Network, a Halifax-based newspaper chain.
The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association said some group or workplace insurance plans are voided when the federal government issues travel advisories.
The association said the exclusion is in the plans for some commercial trucking companies.
"With restrictions to non-essential travel beginning in the coming days, Canada's insurers want to be clear that commercial truckers will not lose their group out-of-country medical coverage due to recent travel restrictions," CEO Stephen Frank said in the statement.
"The commercial trucking industry is providing crucial services to support Canadians with goods at all times, but particularly now."
Meanwhile, the Canadian Trucking Alliance and American Trucking Association are calling on governments to come up with a plan to ensure drivers are well-rested, fed and have access to washrooms during the crisis.
Food becoming harder to get on the road
Wayne Bolivar, owner of WR Bolivar Transport, near Bridgewater, N.S., said they are increasingly becoming unavailable.
"It's everything from rest areas being closed down, places to eat. All the shower facilities are being closed down," Bolivar said.
Marco Beghetto, of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said there needs to be an effort to make food available. That could involve food trucks.
"They need to be able to have a safe place to rest on our highways to ensure that Canadians are able to receive the products they're going to need over the coming months," he said.