AT its meeting on May 13, Brampton City Council unanimously passed a motion to support the Airport Taxi Association’s (ATA) request to the Ministry of Transport and Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to increase COVID-19 safety measures at Pearson International Airport, and to provide financial relief to taxi and limo drivers.
The motion, moved by Regional Councillor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon and seconded by Pat Fortini, passed unanimously and supports the request made by the ATA to Transport Canada and GTAA to enact stricter COVID-19 screening measures for all passengers landing at Pearson; that the GTAA assist in attaining personal protective equipment, and providing training and health protection information to all taxi and limo drivers; that the monthly permit fees of $731.33 for taxis and $748.32 for limos be waived by the GTAA for the remainder of 2020; and that Mayor Patrick Brown be requested to write a letter of support on behalf of Brampton City Council.
The ATA has also expressed its concern that taxi and limo drivers are not being made aware of passengers’ pre-existing medical conditions. During the pandemic, 10 taxi and limo drivers have died from COVID-19, with a recent study conducted by the Office of National Statistics in the United Kingdom finding that taxi and limo drivers are among those most likely to die from the virus.
The taxi and limo industry has been classified as essential by the provincial government, and currently all five registered taxi companies and two limo companies at Pearson are operating despite COVID-19 health risks and plummeting revenue.
“We support this decision made by Brampton City Council. As essential workers, we are looking forward to continued discussions with both the ministry and the GTAA to address our concerns,” said ATA President, Rajinder Singh Aujla.
“Many of the members of the taxi and limo industry are from Brampton, and are putting their lives at risk every day. Our Council made the right decision by showing solidarity with Airport Taxi Association’s requests to protect drivers,” said Dhillon. “Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of those who have lost their lives during this pandemic.”