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From left to right are Walker Industries Executive Vice-President Mike Watt, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris, OWMA Acting CEO Peter Hargreave, Niagara Regional Chair Alan Caslin and Emterra Safety Co-ordinator Paul Harvey.

OWMA continues to call for tougher rules to improve safety for waste collection workers 

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris re-introduced his Slow Down, Move Over bill at Queen’s Park on Monday following a news conference with members of the Ontario Waste Management Association at Walker Industries’ facility in Niagara region last week.

At the event on Oct. 14, MPP Harris and OWMA Acting CEO Peter Hargreave were joined by Niagara Regional Chair Alan Caslin, Walker Industries Executive Vice-President Mike Watt and Emterra Safety Co-ordinator Paul Harvey to highlight the importance of amending Ontario’s traffic laws to require drivers to slow down and move over for waste collection vehicles and snow plows.

“Waste collection workers have one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. Every day on our roads they face the risk of being seriously injured or even killed by a distracted or careless driver,” Hargreave said in his remarks at the news conference.

“British Columbia and other North American jurisdictions already require drivers to slow down and move over for waste collection vehicles, so there’s no reason that Ontario should be any different. All road-side workers deserve the same protections no matter where they live, and no matter which uniform they wear.”

In April 2016, the OWMA and the Ontario Road Builders Association endorsed MPP Harris’s private member’s bill, the Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Waste Collection Vehicles and Snow Plows).

Unfortunately, this bill, along with all other proposed legislation, was cleared off the order paper at Queen’s Park when Premier Kathleen Wynne prorogued provincial parliament in September 2016.

Now that MPP Harris has reintroduced his bill, it would still need to undergo two rounds of debate and committee review to be passed into law.

These reforms could also be put into law if they were adopted by the government and tabled in a government bill.

The OWMA strongly supports MPP Harris’s efforts to improve safety for road-side workers and will continue to call on the government to establish clear Slow Down, Move Over rules that will afford waste collection workers in Ontario with the same protections that are already provided in other jurisdictions.

For a good overview of the news conference on Oct. 14, read the article published by Niagara This Week by clicking here. To read the news release issued for the event, click here