Snow Removal

City crew cleaning a sidewalk

Stay in the know and out of the snow. Monitor the following channels to stay up-to-date about the City's winter control activities:

Social Media

Visit any three of these social media accounts for regular updates on snow removal. Please note: accounts are not monitored 24/7.

Other Options

  • Pingstreet - download the City's free smartphone and tablet app from your device store and subscribe to Notification Centre to receive alerts
  • Visit this web page. Updates will be posted Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Reporting Unsafe Conditions

  • Residents can report fallen trees, unsafe road conditions, blocked catch basins or sewer backups to 905.688.5600.
  • For power outages, hazard or electrical emergencies call Alectra Utilities' 24-hr hotline at 1.833.253.2872 or fill out their online form.

What you can do to help

As a resident of St. Catharines, you can help us in many ways:

  • Report any slippery or dangerous road conditions to us as soon as possible. Call Citizens First at 905.688.5600 from 8:30 am to 5 p.m.
  • Whenever possible, refrain from parking on streets during a winter storm event;
  • Pile all snow from your driveway and walkways on your property - not on the road. When clearing your driveway pile snow on the right side of your driveway if you are facing the street. This will help reduce the amount of snow pushed back into your driveway by a plow;
  • Shovel the City sidewalk in front of AND beside your property as soon as you can after a storm event and apply sand or salt when icy, By-Law 2008-315 requires it;
  • Keep fire hydrants clear and accessible as in the event of a fire, gaining access could be critical; and
  • On your garbage day, place your garbage and recycling containers close to the edge of the road but not so close as to interfere with snow removal.

Please be patient, you can be sure that during a storm event we are exerting our maximum effort to return road conditions to normal. Under severe conditions, it takes some time to get to all streets. If your street has not been plowed, please allow at least 24 hours after the snow has stopped before calling.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Why does the City salt first, then plow?


Applying salt to the road before plowing makes it easier for trucks to remove snow from roads. Salt is applied to the road after snow has accumulated. The reaction of salt with the moisture in the snow creates a "brine" solution, which breaks the bond between snow and road. City trucks plow later to remove the "slushy" snow.


Why does the snowplow leave a pile of snow across my driveway after I've just shovelled it out?


The plows are designed to remove snow from the road and deposit it on the boulevard. When you shovel your driveway, place the snow "downstream" (right side when facing the road) so your driveway won't be filled in the next time the plow comes by.


Can plows minimize the amount of snow left at the bottom of my driveway?


The priority of our work crews is clearing the travelled portion of the road. The only place to move the snow is onto the boulevard, which includes driveways. Unfortunately, snow left at the bottom of driveways is unavoidable and the city will not clear it.


Why did the plow only clear one side of my street?


Residential roads are plowed to centre bare condition, meaning the plow will create one lane for vehicular traffic. 

On main roads, you may see the plow clear one side of the street before it is able to safely turn around and return to plow the other half of the street


Why does it take so long for my street to be plowed?


Residential roads are only plowed after main roads and designated secondary roads have been plowed. As a result, during severe and continuous snowfalls it may take longer to complete snow plowing on residential roads.

If you believe your street has been missed, please wait 24 hours after the snow has stopped falling before calling Citizen's First at 905.688.5600.


I just saw a snowplow drive by with its plow up on a road that needs to be plowed. Why not keep the plow down at all times?


Each truck is assigned to a route, the truck may be travelling to the beginning of a route to begin a salting operation which is completed before plowing.


Why are they sanding my street and not plowing/salting?


The City has developed a Salt Management Plan with the goal of minimizing the use of salt on City streets due to its detrimental effect on our environment. To this end, salt is only applied to the main routes and designated secondary routes. It is not normally used on secondary streets. Instead, sand is used on secondary streets and in agricultural areas to provide traction and reduce slippery conditions.

In addition, salt is not used on any roads when temperatures become so low that it can no longer effectively melt ice. A Salt Management Plan was approved by council in 2008 and is available on our website.


Why don't all roads have a bare pavement level of service?


To achieve bare pavement, salt must be applied at the onset of snow so that a layer of salt brine is maintained between the road surface and accumulating snow (to prevent bonding). In order to provide this level of service to residential roads, significant increases in equipment and salt would be required, with increased costs and environmental impact. The City as well as other Canadian road agencies are required to have a Salt Management Plan to manage salt use and minimize environmental impacts. It would be very unusual for a municipality subject to winter climate conditions, such as St. Catharines, to consider a snow packed road surface as unacceptable for local residential roads.


What is "snow pack"?


The snow pack is hard-packed snow on a roadway. It is the condition that can be expected periodically on residential roads. Snow pack develops very quickly as vehicles travel on snow-covered roads. Snow plows are not able to scrape off snow pack as it is usually bonded to the pavement. Although bumpy at times, vehicles typically navigate snow pack quite easily. Under snow pack conditions, some rutting can be expected. The City will take steps to improve conditions when warranted and possible.


Is the City responsible for clearing ice and snow from private parking lots and plazas?


Privately owned lots and plazas are the responsibility of individual property managers. If snow from a private lot is plowed onto a City street, the property management company may be subject to a fine. To report snow piled on a street, contact Citizen's First at 905.688.5600.


Who is responsible for clearing snow from fire hydrants?


If you have a fire hydrant on your property, please ensure it is accessible in case of emergency. Prior to winter city staff will attach a flag to the hydrant to identify it's location should it become covered in snow.


Whom should I call if my road has not been plowed and I have an emergency situation?

In an emergency situation, you should always call 911 to access emergency services. If there is a winter control issue affecting your emergency situation, such as snow blocking road access for emergency vehicles, emergency services will contact City winter control operations directly to resolve the issue.

How do I Report Damage to property from a city snow plow?


Report damage from a snow plow to your private property by calling the City of St. Catharines at 905.688.5600.

 You need to report:

  • where you live
  • a description of the damage

The City does not replace or repair damaged landscaping items located within the City's road allowance.

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines