The coronavirus pandemic has made clear the importance of having a contingency plan when the unexpected strikes recycling programs. A new tool helps municipalities develop such guidance.
The Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF), an Ontario organization funded by producers and municipalities, on April 16 released its “Guide for Developing a Waste Management Service Contingency Plan.”
The guide is designed to help recycling program managers create a contingency plan in case of facility fires, labor strife, contractor bankruptcies and other issues, including disease outbreaks.
The document is intended for municipalities involved in Ontario’s Blue Box program, which recycles household packaging and printed paper, but could be useful to managers of other programs and material streams.
CIF also recently wrote about invoking force majeure provisions in contracts. Among the questions addressed in that blog post was whether labor shortages caused by the pandemic qualify.
“The short answer is maybe. COVID-19 might cause a contractor to shut down due to loss of staff and claim the virus is an ‘act of God.’ If the shutdown lasts for a period that can be handled with labour disruption contingency planning provisions, then no force majeure trigger is justified,” according to CIF’s blog post. “If the labour disruption lasts long enough that the contractor goes out of business or must permanently hire, train or increase wages for significant numbers of new employees then there may be a justifiable force majeure trigger.”
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