This winter Torontonians are extreme weather conditions, as snow is followed by ice, which is followed by more snow.
Homeowners in Toronto have a responsibility to clear the snow and ice off of the sidewalks in front of their homes and show always ensure that there is a clear walkway to their doors (including the steps leading up to their front or side doors) to ensure that anyone walking up to their doors (ie – newspaper or flyer delivery people, letter carriers bringing your mail) can do so safely.
The Toronto City by-law states that you must clear the snow or ice within twelve (12) hours of the storm. The City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 719 states the following:
SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL
If you refuse or neglect to clear the snow or ice or slippery surface, you become responsible for any damages suffered by someone who walks on the sidewalk in front of your property or on your property if that person is subsequently hurt or injured in a slip and fall incident.
If you just refuse to clear the snow or ice or slippery surface then the by-law officers can come and issue you a ticket for the contravention of the City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 719 by-law. The ticket associated with the violation of this by-law carries a fine of $125.00. If the City is forced to clear the offending area, then City workers perform the work and the cost of such work is just attached to the property tax bill. The average bill for a small job is $200.00, but if it is a larger job, then the costs associated with that will be larger,
The winter weather this year has been unusual and as a result, complaints about uncleared walks have nearly quadrupled this winter. Inspectors are having a hard time keeping up. Last year at this time, they had received 340 complaints and issued 279 warning notices; this year, they have taken 1,280 complaints and issued 824 notices.
The good news is that, once homeowners receive their warning, they usually get out and clear the walk. The city has laid just nine charges this year.