Snow and Ice Removal – It’s the Law and your Responsibility
This winter season has been particularly brutal and we’ve endured some extreme weather in Canada. We’ve had colder than normal temperatures and record snowfalls in many parts of Canada than we’ve had in recent years. This weather has been reeking havoc, and if you’re a homeowner in Canada or a renter, you want to ensure you follow the laws of your municipality to ensure you are not fined, or worst case scenario, sued due to not adhering to this by-law. Slip and falls on snow and ice can result in serious injuries and at the very least, if someone falls or slips, it can cause a lot of discomfort for both the injured party and you. After a snowfall, a cities/municipalities are inundated with calls for both reporting areas where snow and ice is not cleared and lodging complaints; so this is not an occasional or isolated event. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to ensure the removal of snow and ice from your property. In Canada, each municipality has laws regarding snow and ice removal. If you don't know the laws for your area, be sure to find out as soon as possible by calling your local municipality office. Most by-laws require private property owners to remove snow or ice from sidewalks fronting or abutting their property within a prescribed period of time. This law can also include walkways and driveways. Time frames can be within 12 to 24 hours of a snow event and must be cleared to bare pavement. If you are a senior and cannot remove snow or ice from your property, many municipalities have Snow Removal Programs for Seniors to assist you. If you are a renter, ensure you check your lease as to your responsibility for snow and ice removal. Even if it is not part of your lease, you may still fall under Occupiers' Liability Act where you are responsible for the safety of visitors or people with access to the property where you reside. Should someone get injured on your property, you may be covered by your home or renters insurance. Contact your insurance company to find out more about laws regarding snow and ice removal, your responsibility, coverage and deductibles. Insurance coverage is important to have, but it should be used for accidents in which you have no control. A slip on snow and ice by you or someone on your property can be painful and expensive. The time it takes to ensure you are a responsible homeowner is nothing compared to the time and aggravation of dealing with a preventable injury.