Normally, at this time of year, Brian Tester would like to see 1,200 tonnes of salt in his salt pile.

As the salt yard manager for Kitchener-based Your Salt Connection, Tester gets a little anxious when he sees his pile sitting at 200 tonnes with plenty of winter still to come.

He’s fielding calls on a regular basis from people hoping that pile is a little bigger – and putting out a few similar calls himself, looking for new sources of salt.

“We’re having trouble getting in loads on a regular basis from our suppliers,” he says.

It’s a problem affecting a lot of private snow removal businesses this winter. Salt supplies are low, and governments are given first priority.

Tester says there isn’t enough pre-mined salt to meet the current demand, nor enough trucks to carry all that salt even if it did exist.

“Right now, we’re just stuck in a waiting game,” he says.

While private contractors may be facing a shortage, officials at the Region of Waterloo say they’re still able to obtain enough salt for their needs.

Emil Marion, the region’s manager of transportation operations, says the region typically tries to keep a well-stocked salt reserve in case a shortage occurs.

“We’ve tried to keep it so we have sufficient material to get us through the difficult times,” he says.

Marion says the region has reached out to city and township governments to offer its salt if they are having trouble procuring any of the material.

With reporting by Maleeha Sheikh