When there’s a big snowfall in the forecast, our operations staff get ready for action. On this page, you’ll find answers to some popular questions we get about snow removal.

On this page:

  1. General snow removal
  2. Sidewalks
  3. Roads

General snow removal

What should I do if a snow event is declared?

When we declare a snow event, you cannot park on city streets and we may tag and tow your car.

To learn more about snow events and how to get an email if we declare one, visit our snow removal page.

What should I do if a significant weather event is declared?

When we declare a significant weather event, please avoid unnecessary travel and use caution when outdoors. A significant weather event does not include a daytime street parking ban unless a snow event is also active.

To learn more about significant weather events and how to get an email if we declare one, visit our snow removal page.

What should I do when it snows?

When it starts snowing, please:

  • clear snow and ice from your sidewalks
  • don’t push snow back onto the road
  • on collection day, put your garbage and recycling on your property and not on the road
  • remind kids not to climb or play on snowbanks
  • clear your fire hydrant or gas meter if it’s buried

If we declare a Snow Event, please respect our bylaws and do not park on the road.


How often do I need to shovel the sidewalk?

After the snow stops falling, you have 24 hours to shovel your sidewalks to bare pavement.

When we get a complaint about an unshovelled sidewalk, we inspect the property and issue a notice to the homeowner. If the sidewalk is not clear when we inspect it again, we’ll invoice the homeowner for snow removal.

During a snow event and significant weather event, the timeline for sidewalk clearing stays the same.

I can’t clear my sidewalks, is there help available? 
On our snow removal page, we’ve collected resources for people who need help with sidewalk clearing.
Why doesn’t the city plow sidewalks?
Budget constraints prevent us from offering this service. According to a city report on winter sidewalk maintenance (2016), municipalities that implemented city-wide sidewalk snow-clearing identified that service levels are inconsistent, and sidewalks are maintained to snow-packed, not bare, conditions.
Why do plows throw snow on my sidewalk?

Sorry! There is no way to avoid pushing snow into driveway entrances during plowing operations. To avoid extra work, you could delay clearing your driveway entrance until your street has been cleared.


Plows must drive at a minimum speed to throw snow off to the side. Some sidewalks are close to the curb and it’s hard to avoid getting snow on them. Please call 519-741-2345 to report these situations and we may remove the snow.
Who removes snow from around fire hydrants or mailboxes?

If the fire hydrant near your home is buried by snow, please dig it out. You can also call:

  • Kitchener Fire at 519-741-2582
  • City of Kitchener at 519-741-2529, option 3

If a community mailbox is blocked by snow, please call Canada Post at 1-800-267-1177.

Who removes snow from bus stops?
Grand River Transit removes snow from bus stops. Please call 519-585-7555 to report any issues.


Does a snow event or significant weather event mean that the city isn't clearing roads?

During a snow event or significant weather event, City maintenance crews will be working as usual to clear city roads, but the weather conditions mean it may take longer for crews to clear the roads as quickly as they would under regular winter conditions. During a snow event, it is important to move your parked car off the street to make sure maintenance crews can work effectively and maintain their regular plowing schedule as much as possible.

To stay up to date on how the City prioritizes different roads during plowing operations, check out our snow plow priorities map. During a snow event, you can also refer to the Getting Around map to see which routes have been cleared.

Why can’t the city remove snow that was plowed into my driveway?
It is too costly and time-consuming to have extra staff and equipment to offer this service.
Why don’t you use less sand and salt on the roads?

Before a snow event, we apply an anti-icing salt brine to roads. This brine is mixed with salt enhancer and uses less salt than traditional materials. The brine helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement.

If there is ice on the roads, we use sand or salt. We use sand when the temperature is below -12°C. When the temperature is about -12°C, we use salt on hills and intersections.

What do I do about damaged grass?

We start fixing exposed grass areas after the snow is done falling, usually in April. When we fix grass, we apply topsoil, grade and seed the area.

It can take up to six weeks for staff to repair grass around the city.

If there is damaged grass on city property or at a bus stop, please call:

  • 519-741-2345 for city property
  • 519-585-7555 for bus stops