Recycling Operations Safety Precautions

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, CARI strongly recommends that our members ensure they have taken all possible safety precautions.


On April 8th, the provincial health officer (PHO) announced an order delegating specific powers of the Public Health Act to WorkSafeBC prevention officers. The powers delegated to WorkSafeBC's prevention officers are limited to serving a closure order on a business with a known COVID-19 outbreak. Read the full update HERE.


On December 21, the Government of Ontario announced the province would enter a provincewide shutdown, effective December 26, 2020. Recycling facilities in the province continue to fall under essential business categories (Manufacturing & Community Services) and may continue to operate.  Read the Government's full guideline document HERE.


On August 31, the Federal Government announced the extension of two COVID-19 financial assistance programs, which are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The application deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is extended from August 31 to October 31, 2020. The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) is extended to June 2021.

Read the full press release here.


Transport Canada has collaborated with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to develop guidance to help protect drivers and employees working in commercial vehicle operations. This document has been prepared to summarize recommendations made to date to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the context of commercial vehicle operations. It is intended for use by fleet managers and commercial vehicle drivers undertaking local, inter-provincial or inter-territorial, and international activity.


Mandatory mask usage bylaws for all indoor public spaces are coming into effect in parts of Canada. Check your local health authority for specific requirements.

Bylaws are now in effect in Ontario cities including Toronto, Peel Region, Kingston, Ottawa, and Waterloo Region. Businesses and operators in these regions must ensure policies are in place and customers are informed of the requirement for face coverings. While a number of businesses currently provide customers with masks, there is nothing in the existing bylaws requiring them to do so.


The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued an order requiring all people entering Canada to wear a non-medical face mask or covering while proceeding to their final destination in Canada. This requirement includes truck drivers. If they do not have a mask, one will be provided on arrival at the port of entry.

CARI remains open and active

CARI staff remain fully active and reachable (all staff work remotely). Despite this extraordinary situation, CARI is continuing its advocacy work with governments at all levels, communicating important information to members, and offering assistance to members as needed.

CARI continues to examine if and how we will move forward with our upcoming events and will keep members apprised of these decisions. As always, every activity CARI undertakes is done in the best interest of our members.

Should you have any questions or concerns in this challenging time, please do not hesitate to reach out to CARI president Tracy Shaw [email protected].

Can recycling operations remain open in Canada?

Government announcements have been issued on business closures and operating conditions in the following provinces:

Government support for businesses


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Any business who has seen a reduction of at least 15% of their revenue in March 2020 and 30% for the following months is eligible for a 75% wage subsidy for its employees. The program is available until the end of August. Eligible employers must submit a separate application for each CEWS claim period.

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for a subsidy of 10% of remuneration.

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP): Includes loan guarantees for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and a co-lending program for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Apply through your current financial institution.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): Provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses to help cover operating costs. To qualify, businesses will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Up to $10,000 of the loan is non-repayable. Apply through your current financial institution.

Extended tax filing/payment dates

Income Tax: Businesses can defer payment of income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 without penalties or interest if the deferred requirements are met by September 1, 2020. This applies to due tax balances as well as instalments.

Sales Tax Remittance and Customs Duty Payments: Businesses can defer their GST/HST remittances until June 30, 2020 as well as customs duties owing on their imports.


Recycling Education: Background

Recycling is not a modern industry. It has been in practice since humankind first learned to smelt copper (around 9,000 BC, at best estimates) when melting and reforming a broken tool was far simpler than processing the ore for a new one.

Today recycling companies are part of a sophisticated worldwide commodity sector driven by basic supply and demand. Currently about 45% of the world’s annual production of steel, over 40% of the world’s copper production, and about 33% of the world’s aluminum is produced from recycled material. Canadian recyclers process between 16 and 18 million tonnes of scrap metal each year. Metals still make up the largest part of the recycling market, but new materials like electronics are gaining ground.

Scrap materials are not waste. Waste is a problem, but recyclable material is a resource. Governments and policy makers around the world continue to make the fundamental error of classifying recyclable material as waste. Scrap is a commodity manufactured by scrap processors that meets internationally recognized specifications. This material has value to processors and consumers, so it is not discarded or disposed. Defining recycled material as waste creates undue regulations in the transportation, trade, and processing of these materials.

Recycling and the Economy

crane in recycling palntRecycling used materials and products is paramount for Canadian business and the economy. Research has shown the recycling industry creates 10 times more employment and revenue than the waste industry. An informal survey by CARI of the Canadian recycling industry concluded it directly employs approximately 34,000 Canadian workers, and indirectly creates jobs for approximately 85,000 Canadians. In 2010 Canadian recyclers exported approximately 5.9 million tonnes of metal, valued at $3.6 billion (CAD). Studies from Europe, the U.S. and Canada all show the same results: the recycling industry generates jobs and boosts the economy. Using recycled material helps manufacturers reduce production costs and makes them more competitive. The industry drives the innovation of new technologies and products, which is vital to economic growth.

A 2011 Earnings Jobs & Innovation Report produced by the European Environment Agency concluded that the importance of the recycling industry to the European economy was continuing to increase despite the world economic downturn. As in Canada and the U.S., jobs generated directly by the recycling industry range from low- to high-skill and often pay above minimum wage. The EEA report found that employment related to recycling was also steadily increasing, and that recycling a tonne of waste “will pay $101 (USD) more in salaries and wages than disposing of it in a landfill.”

Recycling and the Environment

Recycling is sustainable development; recycling used materials and products reduces greenhouse gases, uses significantly less energy, maximizes the use of finite natural resources, and diverts material from landfills. Recycled metals offer particular environmental benefits compared to mining virgin material, and because metals do not degrade during the recycling process, they are infinitely recyclable.

Energy Savings

Aluminum 95%
Copper 85%
Plastic 80%
Paper 65%
Steel 74%
Zinc 60%
Lead 65%

CO₂ Savings*

Copper 65%
Ferrous 58%
Paper 18%
Nickel 90%
Zinc 76%
Lead 99%
Tin 99%

*Source: BIR Study on the Environmental Benefits of Recycling, 2009

Design for Recycling

Designing and manufacturing products that can be safely and efficiently recycled at the end of their useful lives involves selecting materials that are already recycled (creating the necessary market demand) and that are recyclable. Design for Recycling means reducing the number of different materials in a product, examining how parts are joined, and avoiding parts that combine incompatible materials (such as plastics and metals), or ensuring these different materials are easy to separate. It means eliminating hazardous and toxic material wherever possible, marking the components, and anticipating a product’s disassembly and parts removal.

Manufacturers should be designing products that can be recycled safely and economically, using existing recycling technologies and methods. Removing toxic or hazardous materials and increasing a product’s recyclable materials will increase recyclability and limit a product’s potential waste. Programs like the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries’ Design for Recycling® award are working to promote this idea.

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