Snow removal

Learn more about our snow and ice clearing services, and how to report uncleared areas.


On this page

  1. Check road snow removal map
  2. Road plowing standards
  3. Report a road plowing issue
  4. Snow events and street parking bans
  5. Sidewalk clearing standards
  6. Assisted snow clearing program
  7. Report an uncleared sidewalk
  8. Trail and bike lane clearing standards 
  9. Salt management

Check road snow removal map

The Getting Around map shows which roads have been plowed during a snow event. It will only be available if a snow event has been declared.

Tips for using the map

Two ways to find a location
  1. Click and drag: similar to Google Maps or other mapping tools, click, drag, and zoom in or out to see different locations
  2. Specific address: type an address into the address search bar, choose the correct option from the results, and the map will focus on that location
Find when we last cleared

The road colours will tell you the time range for when we last cleared the road:

  • green: last cleared within the last 4 hours
  • blue: last cleared between 4 and 12 hours ago
  • yellow: last cleared between 12 and 24 hours ago
  • red: last cleared more than 24 hours ago

Snow clearing data is shown with a delay to support operational requirements.


Road plowing standards

It takes 6 to 24 hours to complete all plow routes after snow or ice has stopped falling. Following Ontario’s Municipal Act, we begin clearing roads when snow or ice reaches the required level. 

We share maintenance on border roads with the City of Kitchener. We clear regional roads (PDF) on behalf of the Region of Waterloo.

Check our street priority map and service times

Our staff work around the clock to clear the roads and provide a safe commute for you.

Service time is measured once the snow stops falling. If the snow begins again within the same snowstorm, the service time resets.

Understanding our priority roads:
  1. Major arterial, such as King Street: 6 hours to clear after 5 cm accumulation
  2. Major collector/GRT bus route, such as Regina Street: 12 hours to clear after 8 cm accumulation
  3. Residential street, such as Northlake Drive: 16 hours to clear after 8 cm accumulation
  4. Minor residential and cul-de-sac, such as Hillside Street or Beckwith Court: 24 hours to clear after 10 cm accumulation

Check your street using our street priority map


Report a plowing issue

Roads take up to 24 hours to clear. Before reporting an uncleared road please wait the 24 hour period. If snow begins to fall again within the same storm, the service time is reset.

How you can help
  1. Give snow plows space.
  2. Keep cars off the street.
  3. Clear snow from fire hydrants on your property.
  4. Pile snow from your sidewalk on your property, not on the road
  5. Ensure that the intake and exhaust vents for your furnace are clear
  6. Place garbage/recycling at the end of your shovelled driveway, away from the roadway
  7. Keep children off the snow banks near the road

Snow plowed from road onto your property

Snow plowed onto your driveway from the road by is called a windrow. It is your responsibility to clear windrows as the city maintains the priority of clearing roadways.

Damage to property from a plow

If your property was damaged by a city snow plow, contact us at 519-886-2310. Damage is documented and repaired in the spring.

Delays in cul-de-sac clearing

Conventional plows have difficulty angling their blades to reach into corners and into cul-de-sacs. Image of a cul-de-sal and the radius of an elbow corner with a greyed out corner that cannot be reached by a snow plow truck.

We partner with contractors to clear cul-de-sacs on our behalf. You may notice large snow blowers that do not have city logos, and the clearing of the cul-de-sac may not occur at the same time as close by streets.

Please do not park your cars in corners or cul-de-sacs as it makes snow clearing more difficult.

Note that crews sometimes load snow in the middle of a cul-de-sac ora radius corner to avoid the cost of removing it entirely.


Snow events and street parking bans

When forecasts predict significant snowfall, a snow event is declared. Parking is not allowed on city streets during a snow event.

We aim to clear all city streets within 24 hours. Follow our progress on our snow removal map.

In extreme weather conditions, the City can declare a significant weather event. Residents should avoid unnecessary travel in these conditions. It can take longer than usual for plows to clear snow.

To stay informed about street parking bans, check our news and notices page or follow us on our Facebook or Twitter accounts.


Sidewalk clearing standards

In Waterloo, responsibility for sidewalk clearance is shared. In general:

  • property owners clear sidewalks connected to a residence or business
  • the city clears sidewalks not connected to a residence or business

Use our sidewalk map to find out if a sidewalk is cleared by the property owner or the city.

Check sidewalk responsibility

Clear sidewalks within 24 hours

Per the snow removal bylaw, property owners must clear their sidewalks within 24 hours after the end of a snowfall or ice build-up. 

You may face a fine for not clearing your sidewalk:

  • $100 for first-time offenders (plus clean-up costs)
  • $400 for repeat offenders (plus clean-up costs)
City responsibility

We clear city-maintained sidewalks using standards in the Municipal Act, which generally require clearance within 48 hours of the end of a snow or ice build-up. Areas with the highest pedestrian traffic are given priority after a snow event.

The city follows the Province's Minimum Maintenance Standards, which require us to reduce the snow to less than or equal to 8 cm and provide a width of 1 meter within 48 hours.

Sidewalk and trail clearing equipment is slower moving and takes longer than road clearing.


Assisted Snow Clearing Program

In 2023/24, we launched a new program offering free snow removal for eligible seniors and people with disabilities. Snow removal services include sidewalks, driveway apron and windrows (snow pile at the bottom of the driveway after a snow plow clears the street).

We have reached our goal of providing snow removal during this trial phase to over 40 residents. Applications for winter 2023/24 are closed.

Apply for the winter 2024/25 program

You can apply for the Assisted Snow Clearing program if:

  1. You are 65 years or older, have a disability, or live with someone facing a disability preventing snow removal.
  2. You must live in Waterloo.
  3. No one in your household can clear snow.
  4. You have a total household income under $46,000 for all residents aged 18 or older.
  5. You agree to waive claims against the city for any property or other damage arising from the services provided.

Applications open September 1, 2024. If you applied in 2023/24, no need to reapply. We will contact you before the next season to confirm your status.

Contact us

If you are receiving snow clearing assistance this winter, please contact the Municipal Enforcement Services Snow and Ice line at 519-747-6280 for any questions about your service.

For general program questions, contact the city at 519-886-1177 x 27241, TTY (for deaf) 1-866-786-3941 or email snowclearingassistance@waterloo.ca.


Report an uncleared sidewalk

If a private sidewalk is not cleared within 24 hours after a snowfall ends, you have two options to request follow-up:

1. Report online

Enter the address(es) into our online reporting system to notify a bylaw officer immediately. This option requires setting up an account with our online services portal.

The request is tracked and you can view its status.

Report uncleared sidewalk online

2. Report by phone

Contact municipal enforcement at 519-747-8785, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Trail and bike lane clearing

We start clearing commuter trails when there's at least 5 cm of snow. After finishing this network, we plow other winter-maintained trail links and park pathways. We usually complete the service within 48 hours after the snow stops. Use our snow clearance map to check if a trail is maintained in winter.

To report an uncleared trail that should be maintained in winter, call 519-886-2310.

We clear on-road bike lanes of snow and ice per Ontario regulation 239/02, which sets road maintenance standards. Minimum service times for bike lanes may differ from the vehicle portion of the roadway. 


Salt management

We apply liquid salt brine onto the roadway before a snow event to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement. This makes snow removal more efficient because less salt is required to return roads to bare pavement.

Through several initiatives under our salt management program, our winter maintenance contributes to a healthy environment for our residents.

Find out how to be smart about salt on your property.