As we continue to monitor the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada and the growing response from all levels of governments, the MWA has started compiling a list of resources to help municipalities navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on waste and recycling programs, and how they can ensure continuity of service and safety for staff and residents.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the solid waste and recycling sector:

Response from the Government of Ontario:

On March 23, 2020 the Ontario government ordered the closure of all non-essential services to help fight the spread of Covid-19. A list of essential services was created. Some of the services deemed essential and may continue operating apply directly to our members. These include services that help to ensure safe and effective waste management, that support environmental management/monitoring and spill clean-up and response, waste collection, waste/sewage treatment and disposal, operation of landfills, and hazardous waste disposal.

How municipalities are responding:

Based on surveys and online research conducted by the MWA and the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario (RPWCO), we have assembled a spreadsheet that provides status updates of several municipal waste management programs. This spreadsheet identifies canceled or modified waste collection programs with further details and links. If your municipal program is not listed or needs to be updated, please contact

Important resources for COVID-19 contingency planning:

COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings Special guidelines for cleaning and safe waste management for residents and municipalities. Public Health England
Emergency Waste Contingency Plan for Border Disruption due to COVID-19 Letter to MOECP on impacts of US border disruptions on the export of solid waste for disposal in US landfill sites, and recommended policy actions. Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA)
COVID-19 ResourcesMunicipal aspects of the COVID-19 PandemicAssociation of Ontario Municipalities (AMO)
COVID-19 General Safety Checklist for Recycling Operations A checklist that provides an assortment of modified procedures and ways of doing business to keep employees, customers, and visitors safe.The Canadian Association of Recycling Industries (CARI)
COVID-19 and zero wasteThis webinar will bring together waste and health experts to assess the impacts that the COVID-19 virus is having on zero waste policies and strategies in Europe. It will examine whether governments can simultaneously prioritise the health and protection of their citizens, whilst also progressing towards their local zero waste agenda.Zero Waste Europe
Waste collection worker health and safety during COVID-19This document outlines best practices, tips and additional resources for employers to ensure they are taking all reasonable precautions to protect waste collection worker health and safety during COVID-19Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA)

As new developments emerge in Ontario’s response to COVID-19, we expect to see a growing list of municipal contingency plans for waste and recycling collection and/or processing services. As these plans become publicly available, we will post them here to share so that our members can stay informed and prepared, together.

Take care. Stay safe. Keep calm and carry on.

Trevor and Mike, from the MWA.