toronto truck protest

Huge Toronto dump truck protest jams up traffic on the Gardiner and DVP

If you're travelling by car in Toronto today, give yourself plenty of time to get through the afternoon commute: The Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway are both entirely effed thanks to dump truck drivers who are rallying en masse againt industry standards that they say are prohibitive and unfair.

Hundreds of large trucks have been proceeding along Toronto-area highways since Thursday morning, after they set out from a large Mississauga lot around 9 a.m.

The truck convoy has since moved southbound along the 427, and then eastbound along the Gardiner.

As of early Thursday afternoon, they're hitting the Don Valley Parkway north and are expected to exit onto the westbound 401.

Traffic has been slow and noisy throughout the day, as residents of local condo buildings have been quick to complain about on Twitter.

As for why dump truck drivers are protesting, a website dedicated to their cause provides some insight.

"Without notice, in the middle of a PANDEMIC, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation put into effect requirements that dump trucks older than 15 years will have to undergo expensive retrofits costing up to $40,000, operate at significantly reduced capacity, OR get off the road," reads

The homepage of a campaign run by a coalition of more than 100 independent drivers, trucking and construction companies, continues on to say that "the regulations aim to protect infrastructure and there is NO public safety threat."

"We are calling on the government to grandfather older trucks so they can operate for their full life span — as they have done for other trucks impacted," reads the site. "Tell Premier Ford and Minister Mulroney to cut the RED TAPE and let essential workers get back to work!"

The rules in question took effect this January and require all dump trucks older than 15 years old to "undergo expensive axle retrofits ($20,000 - $40,000), operate at significantly reduced loads or get off the road," according to the group.

Essentially, to be SPIF (Safe Productive Infrastructure Friendly) compliant, trucks need to have axles that weren't even mandatory until 2011.

"At least 1,000 dump trucks manufactured prior (that were working until Jan 2021) are now deemed noncompliant," reads a letter from the dump truck driver's advocacy group.

The measures reportedly apply to only four categories of truck, all of them used mainly in the construction industry. What the coalition wants is for older trucks to be grandfathered into the framework for the rest of their full life span, similar to what's happened with cement trucks and fuel trailers.

"Our industry has already been hit hard by the pandemic with lost work and income. Asking drivers to invest tens of thousands of dollars in perfectly good 15-year-old trucks is outrageous," said Ontario Aggregate Truckers Association president Jagroop Singh in a release issued last month.

"This program was designed decades ago without any collaboration or consultation with our industry and the measures came into effect with no announcement or notice."

Singh says that the cost to purchase new trucks considered fully compliant past 2011 ranges from $220,000 - $320,000 — no small sum of money and, as pretty much anyone would argue, an amount worth spending a day cruising down the highway honking one's horn to prevent shelling out.

"The dump truck industry is the backbone of the construction industry," said coalition member says Alec Cloke of United Soils in a statement supporting the movement.

"Without this small but mighty group of hard workers, materials can't get transported to job sites and the entire supply chain is interrupted. Higher costs to build roads, bridges, hospitals and homes will ultimately get passed onto taxpayers and consumers."

Lead photo by

The Ontario Dump Truck Association

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