Montréal, Quebec — What happens to obsolete and damaged equipment owned by the Canadian Forces? Much of it ends up in the hands of repair and disposal teams like the one at Longue-Pointe Garrison.
“In the twentieth century, people had this throwaway mentality. But people today are much more responsible when it comes to disposing of material and assets,” said Picard. “We’re constantly updating our methods to be as economic and ecological as possible.”
First step: assessing the materialThe equipment first goes through the hands of the quartermaster, who determines whether the material is still functional. If repairs are needed, the equipment is shipped to the material technicians at St-Hubert Garrison, where it is repaired and then returned to the quartermaster for reuse.
“When a unit sends us an item… that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete for other units; it could be reused,” said Sergeant Hugo Ayotte, supervisor of the Repair and Disposal Section.
When repair is not possible, the equipment is sent to the repair and disposal team at Longue-Pointe Garrison. Obsolete and condemned material, along with hazardous materials, are sorted and labelled.
Computers for Schools ProgramUnder the Computers for Schools Program (CSP), a national program created by the federal government in 1993 to repair and upgrade surplus computers, any computers received by the repair and surplus team are sent to Ordinateurs pour les écoles du Québec (OPEQ).
In 2011, the repair and disposal team donated 807 office computers, 274 laptop computers, 484 liquid crystal screens (LCD screens), 203 printers, 37 tablets, and innumerable keyboards and mice.
On-line salesAny remaining material, obsolete but still usable (i.e. tents and electric cables), is sold on GCSurplus, the official Web site of Crown Assets Distribution, a federal agency that sells surplus and seized federal assets.
The Receiver-General of Canada keeps a portion of the profits, and some money is returned to the repair and disposal team to be invested in infrastructure or equipment improvements. The team recently acquired a machine for crushing bulbs and neon lamps that captures the mercury and prevents it from escaping into the atmosphere.
Other articles that can be repaired by the manufacturer are returned to the suppliers for upgrading. Any remaining material must be disposed of.
“We make sure nothing is thrown in the garbage without a reason,” said Sgt Ayotte.
To learn more about the sale of surplus federal assets and seizures, visit the GCSurplus web site.
Article and photos by MCpl Jean-Nicolas Minville