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10 airport taxi, limo drivers have died since beginning of coronavirus pandemic, union says

Click to play video 'Toronto drivers die of COVID-19, union says' Toronto drivers die of COVID-19, union says
WATCH ABOVE (April 30): Four Toronto airport limousine and taxi drivers have died after contracting coronavirus. As Sean O’Shea reports, others are in intensive care in Toronto hospitals fighting for their lives. – Apr 30, 2020

The union representing Toronto Pearson Airport taxi drivers says six of its members have died due to COVID-19, an increase of two since Thursday.

Rajinder Aujla, the president of the Airport Taxi Association, confirmed on Wednesday that a total of 10 drivers have died since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, with four still awaiting confirmation of having died from being positive for the virus.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 4 Toronto airport taxi drivers have died due to COVID-19, union says

Aujla previously told Global News on April 30 that another driver had passed along the virus to his father, who ultimately passed away.

“Most of the drivers have been overlooked since the beginning [of the pandemic],” he said.
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“Not even now, they don’t have much safety gear.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario extends all emergency orders until May 19

Aujla said if there were better measures in place to protect drivers then the deaths could have possibly been prevented.

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“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the taxi and limo drivers who have passed away,” a statement from the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) said Wednesday.

“These drivers are part of the Toronto Pearson team, and while not our employees, we are working with health agencies and also with their employers to promote health and safety at the airport.”

Tori Gass, spokesperson for the GTAA, said they delivered more personal protective equipment (PPE) to the driver compound and taxi stands, on top of the 6,000 disposable gloves they have already provided.

Gass said the GTAA informed all airport-licensed taxi and limo permit and licence holders back in March that they would not be required to provide continuous service to the airport for three months.

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The company also arranged for all taxis and limos to be disinfected before each trip and have increased safety measures in high traffic areas such as the driver cafeteria and washrooms.

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“With respect to the taxi and limo community at Toronto Pearson, we have been working closely with their industry representatives, the Consultative Committee on Taxis and Limos (CCTL), to address concerns regarding COVID-19,” Gass said.

“The CCTL met most recently last week to discuss the industry and specifically to discuss driver health and safety, which is the responsibility of the CCTL.”

As of Wednesday morning, Ontario reported a total of 18,722 coronavirus cases and 1,429 deaths.

With files from Global News’ Sean O’Shea