Toronto Service Standards: Snow Removal

Here is some important information you may want to know regarding street clearing and snow removal:

Salt Application Service Standard (times are following snow starts to "stick" to road):

  • Expressways: 1-2 hours
  • Arterial roads: 2-4 hours
  • Collectors, primary service routes with steep hills/curves: 4-6 hours
  • Local/Residential streets: 8-12 hours
  • Public laneways: approximately 24-48 hours after snow has fallen

Snow Plowing Service Standard

  • When snow starts, salt trucks are sent out to expressways and main roads.
  • Once 5 cm of snow has fallen, plows are sent out to plow expressways and arterial roads. It takes 5-6 hours to plow arterial roads, sometimes requiring multiple plowings.
  • Once 5 to 8 cm of snow has fallen, plows are sent out to collector roads, bus routes and local streets with hills.  It takes 6-8 hours to plow collector roads, sometimes requiring multiple plowings.
  • Once 8cm of snow has fallen and has stopped falling plows are sent out to local streets. IT takes approximately 14-16 hours to plow local roads once.
  • Laneways are not
  • There is no windrowing service (clearing blocked driveways) in Ward 13.

If it has been 16 hours since the end of the storm and your local street has not been plowed, please contact 311.
View the city-side road map here.

Sidewalk Plowing Service Standard

Sidewalks are typically cleared within 16-24 hours following the end of a storm. Click here for Sidewalk Service Levels for former Ward 27 and 28.

Service standard levels to clear sidewalks are as follows:

  • High pedestrian volume sidewalks (arterial roads, school zones, transit routes): cleared when accumulation reaches 2 cm.
  • Low pedestrian volume sidewalks (collector and local roads): cleared when accumulation reaches 8 cm.

It can take up to 18 hours after initiation of service to clear sidewalks. Many sidewalks are not wide enough to accommodate machines, do not have a place for the snow to go, etc. Where sidewalk clearing is not done by the city, the adjacent landowner must clear the sidewalk within 12 hours after a snowfall. If the resident is a senior or other accessibility issue, they can apply for the city to clear their sidewalk through 311.

Individuals who do not clear their sidewalks should be reported to 311.

Under the Residential Tenancy Act regulations, the responsibility for snow removal on private property is on the landlord. This responsibility cannot be transferred to a tenant without separate consideration given.

Under the city's by-laws, this snow removal to make access and egress to the property for tenants and vehicles must be done within 24 hours of a snowfall. This includes both residential and commercial properties. For more information, please click here.


Bikelane Plowing

The city has prioritized designated winter bike routes. To see a map of the city's cycling routes, click here.

The city will begin to plow designated cycling facilities once 5 cm of snow has fallen. Plowing on cycle tracks, arterial roads, and streetcar routes will take 6-8 once the snow has stopped falling. For cycling facilities on collector roads, bus routes and local streets with hills, plowing will typically take 8-10 hours once the snow has stopped falling.

Unlike motor vehicles, it is more challenging to make cycling infrastructure safe through traditional salting and plowing. The intent with cycling facilities is to achieve a "bare pavement" condition through aggressive salting and the use of a "slusher" blade. Please note that this work can be challenging  to perform in Ward 13 due to sidewalk and parking conditions. Typically, the city will have to "clean up" cycling facilities following a storm. This work can take from 48-72 hours to achieve, with a goal of having a minimum of 1 m. of bike lane open for use.

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