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  • 18 Dec 2013 3:46 PM | Deleted user
    CBC's Amanda Margison takes a closer look at how cities fight off ice.

    Take a look here:


  • 03 Dec 2013 1:16 PM | Deleted user
    We're excited about our new radio campaign helping to remind everyone in the community to do their part this winter before style....wear appropriate footwear!  Have a listen here...

  • 21 Aug 2013 2:53 PM | Anonymous
    This article was published in the July/August issue of Landscape Trades magazine:

    Salt reduction program takes a team approach to reach its goal

    A snow and ice management program originally created to address elevated groundwater chloride loadings is providing multiple financial benefits to contractors as well as commercial facility managers. The Smart About Salt (SAS) program takes a three-pronged approach to controlling the amount of salt used on sidewalks and roads in winter, targeting snow and ice control contractors and facility operators as well as homeowners and tenants. Originally created by the Region of Waterloo (Ont.) in 2008, the program soon found advocates in Landscape Ontario, and the Building Operators and Managers Association of Ottawa. These organizations have invested in the program and together created the Smart About Salt Council to promote SAS and its benefits. While the program is based in Ontario, snow fighters from across Canada are invited to take advantage of its training and documentation requisites.

    Encouraging clients to understand the science of SAS is one of the Smart About Salt Council’s goals for 2013.  Leanne Lobe, executive director of the Smart About Salt Council, note, she has heard from contractors who know they have done their job properly and managed snow and ice effectively according to SAS recommendations, but property owner or managers will  still call and ask for more salt to be placed on the clear pavement. She believes that SAS-certified contractors can best do what they are trained to do if the facility owners they work for are SAS-certified as well.

    Lobe is taking her message on the road this summer and making presentations to several commercial building owner associations, introducing them to the benefits of being smart about salt.  For one thing, she notes, it saves money by reducing the impact of excessive salt on infrastructure. Winter maintenance practices may be costing facilities more than just their snow control contracts. Excessive salt causes damage to landscape plants, concrete and asphalt, and can corrode steel and aluminum railings. Additionally, salty slush tracked inside a shopping mall or office lobby must be cleaned off floors and carpets constantly.  Some of the more environmentally friendly salt options will actually accelerate damage to concrete infrastructure, so working with a contractor who is careful to apply only the right amount of product at the right time, following SAS best practices, can save thousands of dollars in infrastructure improvements by prolonging the maintenance and replacement costs of large infrastructure assets. Lobe says, “If you need to replace your carpet, you can get a quote for it and know how much it will cost, but you will not be able to measure the cost of a bad impression.” Lobe’s message is that hiring an SAS certified contractor  will pay off in the long term in infrastructure repairs.

    An important reason for building managers to become SAS certified is that the program can reduce the company’s liability for slip and fall accidents. The SAS program takes a proactive approach to ice control. It encourages facility owners to spot and fix outdoor areas that might become winter hazards and require excess salt applications. On the other hand, if a contractor can show, through record keeping, that he notified the building owner about the hazard and has done everything within his power to control ice build-up in a specific area on the property, the building owner may be liable in the event of a slip and fall claim, if he did not correct the hazard when notified.

    The comprehensive record-keeping requirements of the program are another reason to become SAS certified. While contractors have to track the weather and site conditions along with the amount and type of product they apply, the program encourages property owners to keep better records as well. Good record keeping is the best defense against any slip and fall claim. As proof, Lobe notes that, using the program’s documentation model, some SAS certified contractors have successfully defended against slip and fall claims.

    The SAS website, is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for more information on the program, or how to become certified. Contractors can download brochures for their clients, or direct the facility manager to the website to see the benefits for themselves.
    Last year, the Smart About Salt Council released a public service piece for consumers undefined the Get A Grip program. The Council uses this message to promote wearing proper footwear in the winter, and that high heels and dress shoes do not provide enough protection and traction during winter storms. The possibility of being hit with a slip and fall claim is the biggest reason for the over-application of salt at public facilities. The Get A Grip program is intended to remind people they are responsible for their own safety. Lobe says that the individuals who decide how much sidewalk salt to apply are often influenced by higher levels of management looking to avoid frivolous insurance claims. By making PSAs such as Get a Grip available for posting around offices, Lobe hopes to engage all the influencers in the SAS message about the unnecessary application of salt. Get a Grip posters can be downloaded for free at

  • 03 Jun 2013 3:39 PM | Deleted user

    Eric Hodgins, President of the Smart About Salt Council announced today that effective June 14th, Bob Hodgins will be stepping down as Executive Director and taking a well deserved leave after steering and growing the program for the past 2 years. “Bob has been a driving force of the Smart About Salt program and has worked tirelessly to build it over the past several years.  Bob should be recognized for his significant contributions to the snow management industry –not just parking lots and sidewalks through the Smart about Salt program, but on highways across Canada.  We are committed to preserving Bob’s legacy through the Smart About Salt program”.  Bob will continue to provide training and advisory support to the program and ensure a smooth transition.

    Leanne Lobe will be assuming the position of Executive Director. Leanne co-designed the Smart About Salt Program and was heavily involved with the program at its inception. “We are excited about the experience and leadership that Leanne will bring to the program” said Eric Hodgins.  Leanne will be supported by Shawna Barrett, Administrative Coordinator who will provide administrative support to the program.

    The Smart About Salt Program continues to expand with more agencies requiring their contractors to be Smart About Salt Certified and more facilities being certified. The program expansion is also bringing sponsorship support. We are seeing a significant reduction in salt use by our member companies as they commit to being Smart About Salt.
  • 23 May 2013 7:29 PM | Deleted user

    Jim Galbraith is charged with keeping one of Canada's largest Universities operational during the winter. Read about his experiences with the Smart About Salt program in this excerpt from the University's Sustainability Newsletter. Jim says "Looking back at the first year of implementing the Smart About Salt program, Western staff are proud of their success. The Landscape Services team will continue to provide safe passage for all pedestrians and vehicular traffic on campus, while reducing negative financial and environmental impacts." In a followup email Jim identified the following salt savings:

    When comparing the light 2011-2012 winter to the 2012-2013 winter (considered to be 3 times as bad), the University saw a 22% reduction in its bulk salt use. "The actual percentage decrease would be even higher if we did a comparison against similar past winters. This is an incredible achievement made possible by the SAS training and our dedicated staff that truly understood the effects of salt and the proper use of salt for winter applications from your training session", said Galbraith.

  • 25 Mar 2013 5:07 PM | Deleted user

    A City of Ottawa Council Motion (Ref # ACS2011-CMR-TRC-0017) was passed that all Contractors, and all required City staff, become certified in the Smart About Salt certification program to be eligible to perform snow clearing work at City facilities and parking lots.  


    This motion is currently only for snow maintenance operators who perform snow clearing and salting operations at City parking lots and facility laneways.


    As such, the City will be including this mandatory requirement in all new contracts issued by the City of Ottawa for the 2013/2014 winter season.  

    All existing contracts will remain unchanged until retendered.   Therefore all existing contracts including those that contain extension option years will remain the same as originally tendered.

    The Smart About Salt Council has training coming to Ottawa on April 9th. People can register online.

  • 30 Jan 2013 11:49 AM | Colleen Brown
    The Regional Municipality of Waterloo is asking its community members to get a grip this winter by wearing proper winter boots. If you live in Waterloo Region, look and listen for the Get A Grip promotions in the local papers, on buses and radio stations as well as on posters displayed throughout the community.

  • 23 Jan 2013 11:30 PM | Deleted user

    One of our Smart About Salt certified contractors reported today that being involved in the Smart About Salt Program helped them to win a slip and fall law suit. The company spokesperson said "The education and training we have received from Smart about Salt helped us win. We had our paperwork which had dates, times, weather forecasts, current conditions, temperature, and what work was performed. We also had contracts and invoices proving we did our job. The plaintiff could not show that we were negligent." All of the principles and operators have taken the Smart About Salt training. Good record keeping and proactive strategies are important to protecting yourself in the event of a lawsuit.

  • 11 Jan 2013 10:52 PM | Deleted user

    I found the following article and thought it was important to pass it on.

    Watch What You Eat on Snow-Plowing Nights

    Road crews often battle snow and sleet throughout the night, but usually for only a night or two. That means they are also battling sleepiness since their bodies are adjusted to the usual daytime shift. Sleepiness can be dangerous. At least 10,000 accidental deaths a year are sleep-related and 200,000 traffic accidents annually are due to driver fatigue.

    Recent research on sleep deprivation shows that what you eat before and during nighttime work can affect sleepiness. Since the body slows down at night, it does not want to digest a donut, a "Big Mac," or most other fast foods. Greasy, heavy, protein foods bring on sleep according to information in The Shiftworker's Handbook.

    Drivers can still enjoy eating, though. Take light, well-balanced meals and eat snacks that are compatible with slower, nighttime digestion.

    • Main meal before night work (5:00-7:00 pm) Eat light protein foods like chicken, turkey, fish, or cooked beans and peas. Vegetables, fruit, breads, pasta and potatoes are good, as are low-fat milk, cheeses, and yogurt. If you're planning to sleep before work, make this a lighter and smaller meal.
    • Meals during breaks Eat soup and salad, soup and a light sandwich, or light protein foods and vegetables.
    • Snacks before and during work Good snacks include low-fat dairy products, fresh and dried fruit, popcorn, cereal, plain cookies, pretzels, and baked crackers.
    • Avoid caffeine and nicotine Coffee and tea contain caffeine; smoking and chewing tobacco contain nicotine. These are stimulants at first but soon become depressants. They make the heart beat slower.
    • Do not consume alcohol before or during snow plowing operations

    ([Food information] [a]dapted from Road Business, Fall 1994, University of new Hampshire T2 Center. The Shiftworker's Handbook is by Marty Klein, Ph.D., SynchroTech, Lincoln, Nebraska.)


    Please stay safe out there!

  • 30 Dec 2012 4:16 PM | Deleted user
    Today the Smart About Salt Council launched its Online Forum to provide a place where members and discuss topics of mutual interest or seek information from their colleagues. We hope that it will help to accelerate the rate of adoption of best practices. To join the discussion simply go to the FORUMS page and either start a topic of join one already in progress.  

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