Is It True That Plowing Snow Onto the Street Is Illegal?

Plowing Snow or Shoveling Snow Onto the Street Is Unlawful As An Offence Contrary to Section 181 of the Highway Traffic Act. Upon Conviction a Person May Be Fined Up to $1,000 Plus a Mandatory Victim Surcharge and Court Cost.

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A Helpful Guide For How to Determine the Applicable Penalties For Plowing or Shoveling Snow Onto the Roadway

White Pickup Truck Working As Snow Pllow The effort to maintain snow and ice and thereby to keep roadways as free and safe from winter hazards requires great diligence and resources. Accordingly, when people shovel snow or plow snow onto a roadway, doing so may adversely impact the effort expended to keep the roadway as well maintained and thereby as safe as possible.

The Law

The presence of snow and ice upon the roadway poses a serious safety hazard for motorists, among others; and accordingly, significant resources are spent to maintain the roadways in a condition that is as safe as reasonably possible. As an interference in the effort to maintain the roadways, persons who plow snow or shovel snow onto the roadway undermine the maintenance effort while creating hazards that could cause an accident. Accordingly, the law, per section 181 of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 does forbid persons from pushing, or piling snow onto the roadway. For those found guilty of violating section 181, the details for the penalty upon conviction are prescribed by section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act whereas section 181 is actually silent, meaning absent, about the penalty details. Interestingly, what is actually defined as the "roadway" often requires careful review of the definition as within section 1 of the Highway Traffic Act. Within section 181, section 214(1), and section 1 of the Highway Traffic Act it is specifically stated:

Deposit of snow on roadway

181 No person shall deposit snow or ice on a roadway without permission in writing so to do from the Ministry or the road authority responsible for the maintenance of the road.

General penalty

214 (1) Every person who contravenes this Act or any regulation is guilty of an offence and on conviction, where a penalty for the contravention is not otherwise provided for herein, is liable to a fine of not less than $60 and not more than $1,000.

roadway” means the part of the highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, but does not include the shoulder, and, where a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term “roadway” refers to any one roadway separately and not to all of the roadways collectively;

As stated above, the general penalty prescribed by section 214(1) of the Highway Traffic Act imposes a fine ranging from sixty ($60) dollars to one thousand ($1,000) dollars for plowing snow or shoveling snow onto the roadway.  Furthermore, a statutory victim surcharge plus court cost will also apply.

Summary Comment

Plowing snow, shoveling snow, or otherwise depositing snow upon the roadway presents a great risk of serious harm to motorists using the roadway while also causing waste to the expense incurred by municipalities in the effort to keep roadways maintained and reasonably safe. Accordingly, the law forbids any manner of depositing snow upon a roadway and imposes a fine of up to one thousand ($1,000) dollars plus victim surcharge and court cost.


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