I am a certified Water…

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I am a certified Water Treatment Operator with over 20 years experience in a class 4 plant. I have also worked in water distribution & wastewater treatment. I currently posses a class 4 water treatment, class 2 water distribution & water quality analyst certificates. I also posses 5 years of relevant post secondary education.

My comments are focused on 2 areas.
(1) The proposed strike or lockout. I believe water & wastewater operators are essential workers but not legally recognized as such. We were given priority in the vaccination queue as we are essential workers. In several sections of my municipality’s DWQMS we are considered essential. We are as essential as the good men & women who work as police officers & firefighters. If we were legally considered essential there wouldn’t be a need for this provision. Why allow for the risk of uncertified & inexperienced temporary staff operating these subsystems when it can be remedied by the Provincial Government legally declaring water & wastewater operators essential so there would be no strike or lockouts & would be obliged to commit to binding arbitration if collective bargaining can not be agreed to.

(2) My second comment is about allowing certain knowledgeable non certified personnel to operate during an emergency. I feel this needs to be defined in greater detail. A licensed engineering practitioner is too broad of a definition. A structural engineer for example would not have the skills or experience required. Also managers with 5 years experience isn’t satisfactory for me, there needs to be more requirements such as possessing a valid operator’s certificate equal to the level of the subsystem. My current manager has 5 years experience but his experience is solely in maintenance as a manager so he doesn’t have have any experience, education or knowledge about operating a water treatment plant nor does he posses a valid certificate for my subsystem. It is a rigorous process to be certified as a water or wastewater operator because we provide fire protection, ensure the natural environment isn’t harmed and provide life sustaining potable water to our communities, there should be no exceptions made here. Thank you.