It's official: winter is here. Snow has finally come to Toronto, the temperature is staying steadily under 0°C and the sidewalks are turning to ice.
But as beautiful as Canada's winters are, they can also be dangerous. So what are the snow rules in the city? Quite a lot, according to The Toronto Star, who spoke to the City of Toronto's manager of road operations, Hector Moreno.
Here's what you're meant to do when the snow starts sticking, and what you can expect (fine-wise) from the city if you don't.
Where do you put your shovelled snow?
Keep it on your property. It's illegal to push it on the road, and if you do, you could be handed a $360 fine, which goes up to $1,000 for repeat offenders.
What happens if you don't shovel?
Other than a good bickering from your neighbours? You could face a $125 fine. However, the city has had 325 complaints so far this winter and none has resulted in a ticket.
Do you need to shovel the sidewalk in front of your house?
The city will clear snow from sidewalks after eight centimetres of snow has fallen (five cm in January and February) if you live in the suburbs. It's bad news for those who live downtown and in central parts of Toronto, though. It's hard to get the city's equipment there, so you're required to clear your sidewalk within 12 hours of a snowfall.
However, the City of Toronto's website states that failure to clear the ice and snow from the sidewalk in front of your home could result in a fine of $100.00 plus $25.00 surcharge, total $125.00 as per Municipal Code Chapter 719.
If you live in a rental, "ultimately the responsibility rests with the registered property owner," says Moreno.
Do you have to use salt?
Only on sidewalks and steps when necessary, the city says. And if someone slips, the courts have ruled that municipalities are liable.
How long do you have to wait to for the city to clear your sidewalk?
If you live in an area where the city provides the service, your sidewalk will generally be plowed within 24 to 48 hours after a snowstorm. They ask you to give them 72 hours after the snow as stopped, though.
What do you do if your neighbours never shovel the sidewalk?
Essentially, call and complain. Most fines are doled out after people complain to the city about their neighbour. "Any subsequent complaints or follow-up investigations may result in fines being imposed for non-compliance," says Moreno told the Toronto Star. "It should be noted that over the years we are seeing a higher rate of compliance ranging between 90 and 95 per cent."
Can I drive with snow on my car?
Ontario doesn't specifically ban driving with snow on your car, but section 74 of the Highway Traffic Act says you have to be able to see clearly out of your front, front side and rear windows. There is an exception for rear windows if you can see with your mirrors. If you can't, the fine is $85 plus a $25 surcharge. It's up to police to decide what "clearly" means, but don't think scraping a view hole with your credit card will get you off without a fine.