Toronto’s Bug and Scrub: shelter guests being trained as pest control techs

by nobugsonme on March 12, 2008 · 4 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in low-income housing, canada, ontario, toronto, Toronto Public Health

The article from Joe Fiorito yesterday (and my post on that article) mentioned an initiative being tried out at Seaton House, a City of Toronto-run shelter for men that has been operating since 1959. Men who live in the shelter are being given paid training as “pesticide technicians.” They’re being paid a good wage ($12-15/hour) while they study and work.

It’s worth noting that Wikipedia claims Seaton House is the largest homeless shelter in Toronto, housing at times as many as 700 men.

I found more information on this initiative in this PDF at the City of Toronto website. (“Bug and Scrub” is item #2.) They even have a great name, though if they are only dealing with bed bugs–and this is not clear from the description–they might have gone with “Bed Bug and Scrub” to make this clearer.

It sounds like the program provides full-service assistance with bed bugs (from detection, to cleaning and prep for treatment, pesticide application, and follow-ups):

Bug and Scrub is an all in one service that incorporates responsible and reliable measures to deal with the bed bug issue. Following an Integrated Pest Management protocol, full treatment is provided including assessment, prep work, spraying of the bed bugs, removal of belongings and follow up. The business has already proven successful and has provided many low-income, vulnerable individuals with this unique service.

Staff at Seaton House support clients during their training and employment phase. Anyone residing in the City of Toronto can receive the Bug and Scrub service. Fees operate on a sliding scale and can range from $250 -$800 based on the type of work required.

For more information please contact Richard Grotsch at 416-392-5572.

Remember, contrary to some misconceptions, IPM doesn’t mean no pesticides are used. It means fighting bed bugs on multiple fronts, trying to remove them as much as you can, and then treating to kill what’s left.

I have to say, the Bug and Scrub concept excites me: these men are getting training in what is unfortunately a growth field, they’re getting support as they make an educational/career transition, and Toronto residents are hopefully getting good, reasonably-priced pest control service.

1 hopelessnomo March 16, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Check out the Toronto Enterprise Fund.

Bug and Scrub is listed among other “social purpose enterprises” on their store page:

Thank you, Nobugs. This is a great story and a wonderful concept.

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