Ombudsman Toronto is aware of the public’s concern about snow removal in the city this winter.
According to the City of Toronto Ombudsman, there are two issues at play here.
“One issue is the quality of service the city is providing,” said Susan Opler, in a release. “We have heard many stories of people reporting that sidewalks, roads, bike lanes or public paths have not been cleared of snow and ice in a timely way. People have also said that calls to the city to complain sometimes yield delayed responses or no response.”
The Ombudsman also says another issue relates to the city’s very different approaches to sidewalk snow removal in different parts of the city, which is a holdover from before amalgamation more than two decades ago.
- You can track the City of Toronto's snow removal operations in real time (MAP)
- You must clear your sidewalk within 12 hours of snowfall to avoid a fine in Toronto
They say while the city provides mechanical sidewalk snow clearing in most parts of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, it does not provide this service in Toronto and East York because it says it is unable to.
“Sidewalks not cleared of snow and ice affect many people,” says Opler, “including those with mobility challenges and young families with strollers.”
The Ombudsman says her office is monitoring these issues closely.
“We await with interest the report that the mayor has requested from the city’s Transportation Services division as well as upcoming city council budget discussions on this topic.”
Last week, Councillor Josh Matlow said that he believes the city can do a better job at clearing snow.
“I don’t accept this shouldn’t be a basic service a Canadian city provides,” he said in a Tweet.
I believe Toronto can do a better job at clearing snow. I’m requesting higher standards for road snow clearing- including sidewalks in every neighborhood to make our city more safe & accessible for all. I don’t accept this shouldn’t be a basic service a Canadian city provides.
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) February 16, 2019
Members of the public with concerns about the quality and/or timeliness of snow removal should first contact 311. If they are not satisfied with the city’s response, they should contact Ombudsman Toronto.