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Do I Have to Clear Snow from My Driveway?

Do I Have to Clear Snow from My Driveway?

It’s important to keep your driveway and walkways clear to avoid any unnecessary injuries to yourself or others visiting your home and property.

Are you liable if someone slips and falls?

Snow and ice create a slippery surface for walking, especially if you put off shoveling and the snow thaws and freezes a few times. This also makes snow removal more difficult, so it is best to shovel right away. Your family, guests, and anyone else who comes to your property are in danger of slipping and being injured.

Though your home insurance covers slip-and-fall accidents involving your guests, you want to avoid these accidents happening in the first place. This is especially important if you own a business, because you could be sued for liability if there is a slip-and-fall injury on your sidewalk.

Damage to your car

When you let the snow pile up in your driveway, you end up parking in deeper and deeper snow, which means your car’s underbelly is exposed to moisture and can become corroded. The de-icers used on roads also contribute to corrosion on your vehicle.

Damage to your driveway

When the snow melts into cracks in your driveway and freezes again, it expands and worsens the cracks. Keep your driveway clear of ice to avoid damaging it.

Are you required to shovel your walk?

If you live in Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, Winnipeg, or Moncton, you do not have to shovel the sidewalk because the city does it for you.

But, in general, there are municipal bylaws across Canada to make you shovel your walk. There is a time limit in which you must clear the snow from your walk and some places require it to be done by a certain time, otherwise you can pay a fine.

  • In Calgary and Regina, you must clear the snow within 24 hours.
  • In Vancouver, snow must be cleared by 10 am after a heavy snowfall.
  • In Edmonton and Saskatoon, homeowners have 48 hours to shovel. If you live in downtown Saskatoon, you only get 24 hours.

How to shovel safely

Shovelling snow in the cold can strain your back and heart. Here is how to shovel safely.

  • Buy an ergonomic shovel that is around chest height.
  • Dress warmly in breathable clothing and boots with good grip.
  • Push the snow instead of lifting, with your feet pointing in the direction you are going. If you have to lift, do not twist, and keep your back in a neutral position. Keep your core muscles tight.
  • Take breaks, drink water, and stop shovelling if you get out of breath.
  • If you have a healthy heart and like winter, help a neighbor shovel their walk.
  • Use an environmentally friendly, chloride free ice melter to protect your vehicle and your pet’s paws.

Remember to clear your roof

Snow removal does not end at your front steps. Your roof could be damaged or collapse if it is overloaded with snow or ice. Older roofs cannot handle as large a snow load as new ones, and the thaw/freeze cycle creates heavy ice that is difficult to remove. Clear your roof with a telescopic roof rake after a snowfall, or hire a professional snow removal company to help.