Prior to Covid-19, for some, we might have been an invisible workforce. However, through our efforts, we have now become much more front and center in the public eye, in the media and at all levels of government. Ontarians that have always expected store shelves to be stocked and critical supplies readily available, have now come to realize that these items do not magically appear. It is clear now that there is a much better understanding and appreciation of how the supply chain works and what it takes to ensure Ontarians have access to the goods they need. This is a great accomplishment.
And while the public was learning about what makes us so essential, I believe we also learned a lot about ourselves. Throughout this pandemic, which is still ongoing, our employees have faced many new challenges because of Covid-19. All businesses in our sector worked with staff to respect and manage family, health and operational challenges that had never been seen on this scale before. And despite all of these new challenges, we were still able to pull together and continue to move our nation’s economy with nominal interruption. This was not an easy task, and still is not, but as a sector I believe we will emerge from this crisis even stronger and with a greater sense of purpose. We should be proud of what our sector has achieved throughout this crisis, both internally and externally, all of which would not have been possible without a talented and driven workforce.
While we are recognizing the achievements of our sector this week, I believe it is also important to recognize that all levels of government have aided our efforts throughout this crisis. The response has been amazing. As chairperson of the OTA, I do most of my work at the provincial level with the Government of Ontario. As such, I would like to applaud Premier Doug Ford and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney, who have been consummate champions for the industry and have worked tirelessly to improve living and working conditions for drivers and other workers in our sector. Both the premier and minister have stood by us through very challenging times, and this deserves recognition. On behalf of all our members, thank you.
As we look forward to the closing months of 2021, I know there will continue to be challenges that will test our sector – whether related to Covid-19 or not. Nonetheless, if the past year has taught us anything, it is that we must continue to come together to face these challenges with the type of dedication our sector has come to exemplify. In my role as chairperson, I will also continue to push for greater industry recognition and to work with the Government of Ontario to ensure our sector continues to make strides when it comes to compliance and safety.
On behalf of myself and the OTA, I want to wish you all a happy National Trucking Week.
Wendell Erb is chairman of the Ontario Trucking Association.