As if winter in Canada could get any worse now you can be fined for avoiding your shovelling duties. That's right, it can actually cost you money if you make the personal choice not to shovel your sidewalk.
Multiple cities across the country have put in rules to ensure that Canadian residents that own homes or properties clear the sidewalk for pedestrians. If it is not cleared within 24 hours of snowfall, property owners could be fined up to $400 depending on your location.
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On November 6th, Kitchener Ontario announced that they would now be fining residents who don't shovel their sidewalk snow $400 per offence. After an infraction, a city bylaw officer will give out a one-time notice for residents to remove snow and if they do not that's when they'll be fined.
According to Kitchener's local paper The Record, the fine was lower in 2015 when a woman was fined $300 for using a snow blower instead of a shovel.
Still, Kitchener isn't alone in their practice, as many cities in Canada also have enforced fines for those who don't clear the sidewalks. Vancouver, BC charges a fine of $250 for uncleared walkways and gave out a total of 10,250 notices during the 2016 winter season.
Both Calgary, Alberta and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan take a different approach with the fines and charge per infraction. In Calgary, you will be facing a fine of $150 for a first offence, $500 for a second and $750 for a third offence if you fail to shovel snow within 24 hours. Saskatoon is similar, but fines begin at $100 for a first offender, going all the way up to a $2,000 if people or corporations are caught leaving snow on multiple occasions.
Kitchener officials explain in their press release that when residents don't clear snow from their sidewalks they create barriers for those who use walkers, wheelchairs, strollers or any other mobility device.
Aaron McCrimmon-Jones, transportation planning project manager for the city said in the statement that "current data suggests bylaw enforcement has a positive impact on sidewalk maintenance. When infraction notices are issued, over 90 per cent of Kitchener property owners respond by clearing adjacent sidewalks within 24 hours of receiving the notice." So if you get a notice this winter make sure that you clear the snow, no matter how cold it is, or you're going to be facing a hefty fine.