With the Second Heavy Snow Fall It’s Time to Review Who is Responsible to Clear Sidewalk Snow

December 01, 2020, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

People Working on Ice Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention in the winter. Having safely cleared sidewalks, walkways and parking lots, along with proper winter footwear are important aspects of staying upright.

To figure out whether you need to clear your sidewalk or the municipality you need to know where you live and on what kind of street. It really is that specific. Here are the basics of the by-law requirements. If you are unsure about your situation contact the municipality for more information.

Private Property and Parking Lots – the owners are responsible for clearing and maintaining these spaces. If you slip and fall and hurt yourself. Take notes and pictures, seek medical care and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Municipal Property – the municipality is responsible for clearing and maintaining these spaces. If you slip and fall and hurt yourself. Take notes and pictures, get witness names and contact info, seek medical care and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.

City of Waterloo: It’s a mixed bag

Sidewalk clearing standards
In Waterloo, responsibility for sidewalk clearance is shared. In general:

  • the city clears sidewalks not connected to a residence or business
  • property owners clear sidewalks connected to a residence or business

Use our sidewalk map to check if a specific sidewalk is the city or property owner's responsibility. 

Per the snow removal bylaw, property owners must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snow or ice storm. 

We clear city-maintained sidewalks using standards set out in the Municipal Act, which generally require clearance with 48 hours of the end of a snow or ice storm. Areas with increased mobility needs are given priority after a snow event. 

City of Kitchener: Sidewalk shoveling

Property owners must clear the sidewalks around their property to bare pavement within 24 hours of a snowfall.

If a complaint is received and a bylaw officer determines your sidewalk is not clear, you will have another 24 hours to clear it to our bare pavement standard. After this point, the City may have a contractor clear your sidewalk and add the cost of the clearing to your property tax bill.

Cambridge: Sidewalks

Keeping sidewalks clear and safe for all residents is a joint effort between the City and the community. Property owners or occupants are required to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks at the front and side of their property within 36 hours of a snowfall. A map of City-maintained sidewalks can be found at www.cambridge.ca/winter.

For residents who are unable to clear their sidewalks due to health or mobility restrictions, Community Support Connections can offer support. For details call (519) 772-8787 or visit www.communitysupportconnections.org.

Township of North Dumfries:Sidewalks

The Township contracts out winter maintenance for the entire sidewalk network (approximately 27 km) in accordance with the Ontario Minimum Maintenance Standards for Ontario Hig

Township of Wilmot: Sidewalks

The Township clears sidewalks in front of municipal property, walkways and along back lotted properties. Remember all property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to their property within 24 hours of a winter storm. If you need help clearing the snow from your sidewalks, please contact Snow Angels at 519-822-1155 or Community Care Concepts at 519-664-1900.

Township of Wellesley:

The owner or occupant of every building is responsible to clear all snow and ice from sidewalks in front of or adjacent to their property. Sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours after the end of a snow fall or freezing rain event. For more details see By-law 12/2011.

Township of Woolwich:Sidewalks

For all Settlements, except Elmira, property owners are required to clear snow from the sidewalks in front of or beside their homes or businesses within 24 hours after the end of a snow fall that results in an accumulation of 38 mm or more.

The sidewalk snow clearing by-law outlines the policy for all properties.

The Township contracts the removal of snow on sidewalks in Elmira according to priority routes and then adds this service to the benefiting property owner's tax bill. In Elmira, the contractor has 24 hours after the end of the snowfall to clear the sidewalks, as such, there can be no guarantee that all priority sidewalk locations will be cleared by 8:30 a.m.

Similar to Road Clearing, the sidewalk operations follow a pre-determined route to minimize duplication and maximize the efficiency of snow clearing operations. The routes are based on a priority sequence with school zones, downtown core and collector roads receiving the highest priority. 

As with clearing roadways, many variables affect sidewalk snow clearing operations; amount of snow, the type of snow, amount of drifting, how fast it accumulates, how long the snow fall lasts, and equipment breakdowns. These all impact how quickly sidewalk snow clearing can be completed.



Posted under Accident Benefit News, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip and Fall Injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

It is important that you review your accident benefit file with one of our experienced personal injury / car accident lawyers to ensure that you obtain access to all your benefits which include, but are limited to, things like physiotherapy, income replacement benefits, vocational retraining and home modifications.

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