Up until April 27, sectors that were reopened were added to the list of government services and other priority activities This hyperlink will open in a new window., which include waste collection and residual materials management.

The list of waste management services deemed essential is as follows:

  • Waste collection and disposal services;
  • Recycling collection and sorting services;
  • Hazardous materials collection and processing services;
  • Organic materials collection and processing services, including emptying septic tanks;
  • Ecocentres and bulky item collection services;
  • Construction, renovation, and demolition waste collection and sorting services;
  • Biomedical waste collection and processing services;
  • Pest management companies (especially for controlling bedbugs, rats, and mice).

All businesses that produce inputs or raw materials necessary for services or activities deemed essential must maintain their activities accordingly, taking public health directives into account.

Instructions for businesses in the waste management sector:

It is the responsibility of each organization (business, municipality, retailer, etc.) to implement the following recommendations and have a service continuity plan based on their particular circumstances, especially with respect to employee absence.

Instructions for ecocentre managers:

Adequate protective measures must be taken by ecocentre managers. Employers must ensure that their employees are informed of the hygiene measures to be taken and the proper use of protective equipment. When the necessary preventive measures (handwashing and distancing) are applied, contamination risks remain low.

  • Washing stations should be installed to facilitate handwashing. Soapy water is preferred. Otherwise hydroalcoholic solutions must be used after visible dirt on hands has been removed.
  • To limit contact and observe physical distancing, citizens should handle the materials and products they bring to the ecocentre themselves.
  • The number of users present at the same time at the ecocentre should be monitored.

Instructions for operators of construction, renovation, and demolition (CRD) waste sorting centres:

Adequate protective measures must be taken by CRD waste sorting centre managers. Employers must ensure that their employees are informed of the hygiene measures to be taken and the proper use of protective equipment. When the necessary preventive measures (handwashing and distancing) are applied, contamination risks remain low.

  • Employees must wear gloves, goggles, and outer workwear.

Occupational health resources to support businesses in implementing the necessary preventive measures are available at each region’s public health branch.

CRD waste sorting centre managers can consult the Interim recommendations for residual materials management workers issued This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French) by the National Public Health Institute of Québec (INSPQ).

Instructions for retailers regarding the return of refundable containers:

Temporary measures for returning refundable containers have been into effect since May 18. When possible, retailers take back refundable containers brought by the public at outdoor areas in their parking lots. In the event that recovery on their business grounds is not possible, retailers can set up major operations in municipal spaces or shopping centre parking lots in collaboration with community and municipal organizations. If retailers are unable to provide collection service at their address and cannot recover the containers themselves, they can display a sign redirecting consumers to the nearest establishment that recovers containers.

However, retailers must ensure that their employees are adequately informed of the hygiene measures to be taken and provide them with the necessary equipment.

  • Employees handling containers must wear gloves, remove them properly, and wash their hands frequently.
  • Surfaces and equipment must be disinfected frequently.

Retailers can also refer to the Interim recommendations for food markets and essential businesses This hyperlink will open in a new window. (French) issued by the National Institute of Public Health of Québec (INSPQ).

Instructions for operators of recyclable materials sorting centres:

Adequate protective measures must be taken by sorting centre managers. Facilities served by the APSAM (Association paritaire pour la santé et la sécurité du travail – secteur affaires municipales / joint occupational health and safety association - municipal affairs sector) should contact that association for support in implementing adequate preventive measures. Businesses that are members of Via Prévention can contact that association for support. Other sorting centres can contact RSPSAT (Réseau de santé publique en santé au travail / public health network for occupational health).
Employers must inform their employees of the hygiene measures to be taken and ensure that they are using the adequate protective equipment correctly.

    • Employees must wear gloves, a respiratory protective device (e.g., a disposable half mask with N95 filter), goggles, and outer workwear.
    • It is not necessary to let the material coming into the sorting centre sit before sorting it.
    • Respiratory protective devices must be used in accordance with the recommendations of the CNESST (Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail / labour standards, pay equity, occupational health and safety commission).

A guide on the prevention of occupational health and safety risks in sorting centres This hyperlink will open in a new window. by the Robert-Sauvé Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute (IRSST This hyperlink will open in a new window.) is also available online.
A Q&A document for sorting centres and municipal agencies This hyperlink will open in a new window. is likewise available.

Instructions for municipal agencies in charge of collection (waste, organic materials, and recyclables):

Although risks are minimal, municipal agencies must inform their employees of the hygiene measures to be taken and ensure that they are using the adequate protective equipment correctly.

    • The usual hygiene and protection measures apply (e.g., wearing gloves).
    • It is not necessary to give special instructions to citizens (e.g., place bins at the curb 24 hours before collection).
    • Washing stations should be installed to facilitate handwashing. Soapy water is preferred. Otherwise, hydroalcoholic solutions must be used after visible dirt on hands has been removed.

A Q&A document for sorting centres and municipal agencies This hyperlink will open in a new window. is also available.

Instructions for collection companies (including the collection of bulky items and construction, renovation, and demolition waste), disposal sites, and facilities that process organic materials, hazardous materials, and biomedical waste:

Employers must take adequate protective measures and ensure that their employees are informed of the hygiene measures to be taken and the proper use of protective equipment. When the necessary preventive measures (handwashing and distancing) are applied, contamination risks remain low.

  • Work teams (in pairs) should be maintained for collection in order to minimize contact between individuals, considering the physical proximity of employees during collection runs.
  • Employees should wear gloves and outer workwear.
  • Washing stations should be installed to facilitate handwashing. Soapy water is preferred. Otherwise, hydroalcoholic solutions must be used after visible dirt on hands has been removed.
  • For biomedical waste, companies should check with hospitals to see if they are taking any special measures.

Occupational health resources to support employers in implementing the necessary preventive measures are available at each region’s public health branch.

Instructions for automotive garages:

To protect the health of their employees and individuals who come to the workplace, employers are asked to follow the Interim recommendations for automotive garages This hyperlink will open in a new window. issued by the National Public Health Institute of Québec (INSPQ).

Clients can also consult the Interim recommendation for residual materials management workers This hyperlink will open in a new window. issued by the National Public Health Institute of Québec (INSPQ).

Financial assistance available

The following list is intended to direct Québec businesses in the residual materials management sector to the government financial assistance available to them to minimize the impact of COVID-19.

Consult the List of financial assistance available in Québec for businesses affected by COVID-19 This hyperlink will open in a new window..