TORONTO – The Ontario government’s shutdown of non-essential services to curb COVID19 spread does NOT includes waste management.
The Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA) highlights the following business areas related to waste management that are deemed essential:
- Utilities, and Businesses that support the provision of utilities and community services, including by providing products, materials and services needed for the delivery of utilities and community services: Waste Collection, Waste/ Sewage Treatment and Disposal, operation of landfills, and Hazardous Waste Disposal;
- Businesses (including any-for-profit, non-profit or other entity) that help to ensure safe and effective waste management including deadstock, rendering, nutrient management, bio hazardous materials, green waste, packaging recycling.
- Businesses that support environmental management/monitoring and spill clean-up and response, including environmental consulting firms, professional engineers and geoscientists, septics haulers, well drillers, pesticides applicators and exterminators, management of industrial sewage/effluent (eg for mining operations), and environmental laboratories;
- Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate;
- Motor vehicle, auto-supply, auto and motor-vehicle-repair, including heavy equipment repair, car and truck dealerships
Businesses can call 1-888-444-3659 to get answers about the shutdown.
OWMA offers this advice: “For now, most waste management services may continue to operate, while following the safety advice of Public Health Officials.
To be clear, while this does mean carrying on business as usual. Protecting the safety of our members and the public are of the utmost importance.
Employees who can work from home should do so immediately. Staff should keep a distance of at least 6 ft between them and others and continue to use typical safe work practices, hand washing, and PPE, such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure. Working shifts should be staggered and rotated where possible.
Any employee who begins to feel unwell (fever, new cough or difficulty breathing) should return home and self-isolate immediately.
The shut-down of non-essential services takes effect at 11:59pm, March 24, 2020, and will last for 14-days. The detailed list of essential services not subject to restrictions can be found here: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/list-of-essential-workplaces.html.