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Labour shortage at Ricova delays curbside waste collection in Montreal

Click to play video: 'Municipal waste pickup stinks in some West Island communities'
Municipal waste pickup stinks in some West Island communities
WATCH: Many west island municipalities are facing delays in brown bin, recycling and garbage pickup, as the companies contracted to do it are dealing with labour shortages. Global's Tim Sargeant has more. – Jun 3, 2022

Workers at Ricova are moving as fast as they can to make up for lost ground due to a massive labour shortage in the curbside domestic recycling and waste-collection business.

But trying to keep up is no easy task.

The company is short more than 30 employees representing almost 12 per cent of its labour force.

“It’s the first time we’re in such a bad shape,” Aubert Gallant, Ricova spokesperson, told Global News.

Gallant said Ricova has contracts with about 60 cities and towns in greater Montreal and it’s an enormous challenge to stick to the schedule to collect curbside recycling, waste and compost.

Often, collectors are on the job late into the evening or they have to return the next day.

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“Sometimes now we finish at 8 or 9 p.m. and other times we have to go back the next morning,” Gallant said.

The spokesperson tells Global News the company is struggling to find maintenance workers and drivers.

Many residents are affected by the delays.

“There’s missed streets or sectors of the city that just do not get picked up on some days,” Mark Doret, the mayor of Dorval, told Global News.

Doret said the city has received a lot of complaints from residents and he’s asking them to be patient.

“It’s difficult for people to understand and it creates frustration on their part,” he said.

READ MORE: Montreal General Hospital staffing shortage forces closure of some units

Beaconsfield is another city where curbside pick-up service is often late, according to the mayor.

Georges Bourelle said he understands the labour shortage poses a lot of challenges but he insists that doesn’t excuse some of the poor service that he claims residents have received.

“I still doubt, don’t think there is any excuse to leave bins upside down or rolling on the street,” Bourelle said.

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The mayor said that in some instances, his public works employees have had to go out to collect curbside waste when the private contractor didn’t pass.

He said there is no quick-fix solution to the problem, which appears to be emblematic across the country.

Gallant is asking for clients to have some patience while the company tries to hire more staff.

“We need towns and people to sometimes be patient,” he said.

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