Streets & Sidewalks

Snow Clearing

Plowing

Roads are plowed based on priority. The first priority is main routes and escarpment crossings. The second priority is collector roads and the third priority is neighbourhood streets.

Visit the Priority Road Clearing page for more information on target surface conditions and completion times.

To get information about what roads have been plowed, use our Hamilton Plow Tracker which allows you to see where our maintenance vehicles have been in the last 2, 4, 12 and 24 hours. 

Material application

Winter maintenance vehicles are dispatched prior to the start of a winter event to apply an anti-icing treatment if required. Additionally, prior to the storm winter maintenance equipment will then work continuously applying material as required.

  • Primary roads and Escarpment Accesses: Roads with the greatest volume of traffic called primary roads, and Escarpment Accesses, are salted or sanded first.
  • Secondary roads: Secondary roads that lead to primary roads are salted or sanded next.
  • Residential streets: Residential streets generally receive sand/salt treatment at intersections, hills and sharp curves.

Road salt is the conventional deicing/anti-icing chemical for maintaining winter safety because of its cost, effectiveness and ease of handling. However, when used excessively, it’s considered harmful to the local environment and poses a risk to plants, animals, lake and stream ecosystems and groundwater.

To ensure the City of Hamilton continuously improves and manages the amount of salt used in it’s winter maintenance operations, it has releases its 2021 Salt Management Plan that sets out a policy and procedural framework for salt usage. The dynamic plan will allow the City to phase in and test new approaches and technologies in a way that is responsive to fiscal demands, considers environmental impacts and ensures that roadway safety is not compromised.

Through the City of Hamilton’s Salt Management Plan will continue to provide the public with the safe and efficient transportation systems they expect, while minimizing effects on the environment through prudent salt use.

Learn more about The City’s Salt Management Plan (PDF, 5 MB)

Residents can also protect the environment by using less salt with the following tips:

  • Before snow is expected to fall or the temperature is expected to drop below freezing, spread a small amount of salt on your driveway and walkways to help stop ice and snow from sticking to the surface.
  • To reduce the likelihood of needing salt, clear snow and ice from your driveway and walkways as soon as possible – this helps reduce ice build-up.
  • After a snowfall, use salt sparingly in the required areas needed to ensure safety and ensure all snow has been cleared first.
  • Salt is less effective at temperatures below -10 degrees. Residents should consider alternative materials like sand, grit, non-clumping kitty litter or magnesium chloride.

Sidewalks

The City currently clears 397 km of sidewalks across Hamilton including: sidewalks on municipally-owned property, private lots that do not face the road (reverse frontage lots), Ancaster and sidewalks adjacent to school property, owned by the Public and Private School Boards, in conjunction with By-law No. 03-296 (PDF, 102 KB) on a charge-back basis.

Sidewalk snow clearing is activated when accumulation is 5 cm or greater and cleared to a snow packed end condition with de-icing material as needed.

Beginning in November 2022, the City will implement a level of service enhancement for sidewalk snow clearing along Priority 1 roadways, Priority 2A roadways where transit operates and all transit stops. To learn more about this service level enhancement, visit the sidewalk snow clearing webpage.

Your responsibilities for clearing snow/ice

The City of Hamilton’s Snow and Ice By-law No. 03-296 requires property owners and/or occupants to clear snow and ice within 24 hours after the end of a snow event from:

  • sidewalks adjacent to their property
  • roofs that overhang the City sidewalk

Help a neighbour, friend or family and assist those who are not able to clear the snow. 

Where you shouldn't place the snow/ice

For safety reasons, when clearing snow and ice, property owners and occupants must ensure that the snow and ice is not placed:

  • Immediately beside or blocking access to a fire hydrant
  • In such a manner that it would block drainage to any drain, sewer catch basin or culvert
  • On a road or boulevard as it could interfere with traffic, cause an accident and can result in a ticket (By-law #86-77)

As snow and ice builds up on the street, clearing the area around catch basins (sewer grates), curbside gutters and drainage ditches will help to prevent flooding and property damage.

  • When clearing your driveway, consider the direction of travel of the snow plow. Move snow to the side of your property that the plow finishes on so less snow will be spread back across the driveway.
  • Do not blow or place snow onto the roadway. Blow or place snow onto the boulevard or your own front/ side yard.
  • Keep children off snow banks to prevent them from slipping into the path of vehicles and equipment. Do not let children tunnel into snow banks. The snow can collapse or be pushed back by snow plows.
  • On your waste collection day, make sure your garbage container, blue boxes and green cart are visible. Do not place items on top of snow banks or behind snow banks where the waste collectors cannot see them.
  • If it is windy on your garbage day, secure your recyclables so that items do not blow away. Place heavier items on top of lighter items. (For example, place magazines or catalogues on top of loose paper). This prevents litter on your neighbourhood streets and properties when the snow melts.
  • Keep your vehicles off the road during and immediately following a snowfall. This ensures thorough ploughing of roadways and prevents your vehicle from being plowed in.

How to file a by-law complaint for snow

There are three ways that you can file a complaint:

  1. Call us at 905-546-2489
  2. Send us an email to [email protected]
  3. Complete an online Complaint Form

Consequences for violations

Failure to remove and clear snow and ice may result in one or all of the following::

  • A  Notice to Comply issued (A “Notice to Comply” is a document provided to the property owner/occupant that gives direction on what actions need to be taken)
  • charges up to $5,000 under the Provincial Offences Act, in addition to other court proceedings necessary to obtain compliance
  • fee for inspection costs  added to your property taxes
  • the City removing the snow and the costs being added to the  property taxes

Property owners of vacant properties are responsible to ensure sidewalks are cleared of snow and ice.

Report damage from a snow plow to your private property by calling the City of Hamilton at 905-546-2424 ext. 5742. You need to report:

  • where you live
  • a description of the damage

Damage to mailboxes

If a snow plow damages your mailbox, we will issue a temporary mailboxes within a few business days. We will give you a permanent mailbox in the spring when the ground thaws.

Damage to landscaping

The City does not replace or repair damaged landscaping items located within the City's road allowance.

Submit a claim for property damage

You must submit a claim for property damage in writing to:

City of Hamilton
Risk Management Services
71 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8P 4Y5

Email: [email protected]

You must describe:

  • what was damaged
  • how it happened
  • date and time of occurrence
  • names of contractors, equipment, operators where possible
  • Your name, address and phone number

Each claim is examined individually.

When Risk Management Services receives your claim, they start an investigation. You will receive a written reply in the mail to let you know they received your claim. A decision on your claim is made when all of the information has been reviewed. You are advised of the decision as quickly as possible. Payment of a claim is contingent upon legal liability on the part of the City.

If you have experienced property damage or injury which you feel is related to City of Hamilton snow clearing efforts you can make a claim to the City.

Submit a claim for injury

You may submit a written claim within seven calendar days of the incident to:

City of Hamilton
Office of the City Clerk
71 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5

Your claim must include:

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • Date and time of the incident
  • Location
  • What damage  or injury occurred as a result of the fall

An investigation starts when we receive your claim. You will receive a written reply in the mail to let you know they received your claim. A decision on your claim is made when all of the information has been reviewed. You are advised of the decision as quickly as possible. Payment of a claim is contingent upon legal liability on the part of the City.

Contact us

To discuss the claims process contact:
Risk Management Services
Phone: 905-546-4242 ext. 5742.