“We see it with the CHSLD, the people fall like flies. We don’t want that to happen to us the same thing. “
Hélène Thibault, 61 years old, drove buses for the past 30 years. Having fought cancer, she feared for her health if she should get behind the wheel. And it is not the only one.
“There are drivers who speak not to come back. We don’t want to put our lives at stake “, says the one who is also the president of a union of bus drivers in the region of Quebec.
According to data compiled by 2015, approximately half of the bus drivers in quebec are aged 55 years and over. Nearly 14% have reached the official retirement age of 65 years, which represents approximately 1400 drivers.
The shortage, already real prior to the pandemic, could worsen if a return to school is declared too quickly, without appropriate protection measures are in place, ” says Ms. Thibault.
“We want to respond to this, but we don’t want to be at the peril of our life,” she says.
For the Federation of employees in public services (FEESP-CSN), which represents 3000 drivers of school bus safety equipment must be available for a possible return of the children on board the vehicles yellow.
The president of the school sector, Stephen Gauley, evokes masks, gloves, gowns, hand sanitizer and protection screens in plexiglas.
“If the equipment is not available, think about it not even ! ll need people to feel safe when they return to work “, he says.
The time to prepare
Moreover, it will have “some weeks” to ensure that they put in place all the necessary measures of protection, says of his side, Stéphane Lefebvre, president of the Federation of carriers by bus, not to mention the minimum maintenance to be performed on the vehicles, many of which have been stored.
“We will need preparation, we will not be able to make it to the last minute “, lance-t-il.