Yukon WorkFutures

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents

NOC 6733 / RANK 6


What They Do

Light duty cleaners clean the lobbies, hallways, offices and rooms of hotels, hospitals, schools, office buildings and private residences. They work for hotels, motels, hospitals, school boards, office building management companies and cleaning service companies.

Specialized cleaners clean and refurbish building exteriors, carpets, chimneys, industrial equipment, ventilation systems, windows and other surfaces using specialized equipment and techniques. They work for specialized cleaning services companies, or they may be self-employed.

Janitors, caretakers and building superintendents clean and maintain the interior and exterior of commercial, institutional and residential buildings and their surrounding grounds. They work for office and apartment building management companies, school boards, hospitals, recreational facilities, shopping malls and other facilities.

Main Duties

Cleaners and janitors are responsible to care for different kinds of properties and equipment.

They may do some or all of the following tasks:

  • Sweep, mop, wash, wax and polish floors
  • Vacuum carpeting, draperies and upholstered furniture
  • Dust furniture
  • Make beds and change sheets
  • Pick up debris and empty trash containers
  • Clean, disinfect and polish kitchen and bathroom fixtures and appliances
  • Disinfect operating rooms and other hospital areas
  • Distribute clean towels and toiletries.
  • Operate industrial vacuum cleaners
  • Wash windows, interior walls and ceilings
  • Clear snow and ice from walkways and parking areas
  • Cut grass and tend grounds
  • Make adjustments and minor repairs to heating, cooling, ventilating, plumbing and electrical systems
  • Paint or perform other routine maintenance jobs
  • Advertise vacancies and show rooms to prospective tenants
  • Collect rent
  • The duties of specialized cleaners vary according to their specific occupation.

Working Conditions

Because most buildings are cleaned when they are empty, many cleaners work evening or night hours. During the middle of summer, however, Yukon never becomes completely dark owing to the northern latitude, so some night-shift work can be carried out in twilight or nearly daylight conditions.

Of course, some cleaners, such as school and hospital custodians, may work in the daytime. When there is a need for 24-hour maintenance, janitors may be assigned to shifts. Most full-time janitors and cleaners work about 40 hours a week. Part-time cleaners work evenings and on weekends.

Janitors and cleaners usually work inside heated, well-lighted buildings. They do, however, sometimes work outdoors, sweeping walkways, mowing lawns or shovelling snow.

Yukon winter conditions can be brutal, with outdoor cleaning sometimes performed at temperatures below minus forty and in severe wind-chill. Working with machines can be noisy, and some tasks, such as cleaning bathrooms and trash rooms, can be dirty and unpleasant. Janitors may suffer minor cuts, bruises and burns from machines, hand tools and chemicals.

Janitors and cleaners spend most of their time on their feet, sometimes lifting and pushing heavy furniture and equipment. Many tasks, such as dusting and sweeping, require constant bending, stooping and stretching.

How Do I Get There

There are no specific educational requirements for cleaners and janitors. Grade 10, or an equivalent, is the minimum education preferred by most employers. Training is provided on the job and might last up to thirty days. Often cleaners and janitors must have a criminal record check and be eligible for bonding.

Cleaners and janitors need to be good with their hands, strong enough to move heavy furniture and have the physical ability to operate machinery and to stoop, kneel, crouch and reach while cleaning.

Certification is not mandatory, but is available for housekeeping/room attendants through the Yukon Tourism Education Council, following a written examination, a skill review and an evaluation by a trained volunteer.

People operating their own house-cleaning businesses must be good at organizing and scheduling, have basic bookkeeping skills and enjoy contact with people. Larger cleaning businesses require managerial skills and may need formal business training.

Because the tasks of janitors are quite varied, an elementary knowledge of electrical systems, plumbing, carpentry and other construction trades is an asset. The ability to communicate effectively is an important skill. Analytical skills and adaptability to change are assets. Janitors must be able to work on their own with little or no supervision.

Courses in first aid, confined space entry and hazardous materials handling are available at Yukon College, and are highly recommended for all janitors and custodial occupations. Training in the repair and maintenance of specific equipment is often part of ongoing training for people in these occupations.

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with additional training or experience.

People who have some construction background or who are otherwise skilled at basic building maintenance will have the best opportunities for work as building caretakers and superintendents.