President’s message about COVID-19

OMWA president, Mike MortimerFirst and foremost, I hope this message finds everyone healthy and spending quality time with loved ones during the uncertain period ahead. In times like this, it is also important to remember those less fortunate to help them out when we can, and when it is safe to do so.

These are some of the most challenging times we have faced collectively as a country, province, and municipality. There is uncertainty over day-to-day life, growing concern for our elderly and medically-vulnerable citizens, and anxiety over our well-being and the economy consume our thoughts. Whether you are a small business owner, a banker, or a restaurateur, there are varying perspectives of what this is doing to everyday life. It is an extremely fluid environment that we are all living and adapting to daily.

Water and wastewater professionals are no different.

The world of water and wastewater is unique in the sense that we are not deemed an essential service but yet we are absolutely necessary to ensure the continued public health of our communities. We are not able to just pack up our belongings and go home; we are not able to leave a water main break or a blocked sewer for the next week; we are not able to ignore a low-chlorine residual alarm or a high-level alarm at a sewage pumping station; we are not able to just stop sampling when our normal testing locations have been closed because of this pandemic.

And we don’t want to go home. Water and wastewater professionals are extremely dedicated individuals, committed to ensuring the provision of safe drinking water and the environmentally-sound conveyance of wastewater. There has been no threat to either during this pandemic, and for that we should be extremely grateful, but this is also different for those of us who do this work day-to-day. The threat is not a low-chlorine residual or a looming summer storm, but a threat we have little to no control over. And the question lingers: What if our workforce is impacted?
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President’s New Year’s Message

Mike Mortimer, OMWA presidentAs we close the door on 2019, the OMWA can look back on a year full of challenges and changes but with this, also comes new opportunities.

At the most recent AGM, in December, the OMWA underwent a self-refection of sorts. As the water, stormwater and wastewater industry landscape continues to evolve, it was imperative that the OMWA reflect on our mission statement, our mandates, and why we do what we do. From this strategic planning review arose many new ideas and exciting potential. Details on this session will be posted in early 2020!

But let’s be clear on one thing: the main purpose of the OMWA has always been to advocate on behalf of our members, to work with the province’s MECP on the policies, procedures, and governance issues that directly impact our member municipalities and our First Nations. This will never change, and as the strategic planning session showed us, it is imperative we continue to provide this foundation for public water authorities across the province.

The session also was a great reminder and confirmation that the OMWA is committed to continuing to be the voice for public water authorities. In an ever-evolving industry, we are dedicated to delivering on this mandate, to be an influential part of the dialogue on industry challenges, and to continue to be involved in the conversation for the overall collaborative effort that is required as we move forward.

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