City reviewing winter maintenance standards

Everyone has an opinion about how the City of Ottawa maintains its roads in the winter, and residents have an opportunity to share that opinion with the City right now.

The City of Ottawa is reviewing its Winter Maintenance Quality Standards (WMQS). The standards determine when and where snow clearing, sanding and salting take place, how often and for how long.

Residents can visit and contribute to the review in three ways:

  • Complete a survey, available until February 19
  • Participate in one of four virtual workshops: January 25, 26, 27 or 28
  • Share an idea or ask a question in the discussion forum

If you need to complete the survey by phone or require other accessibility related accommodations, please call 613-282-2685 for assistance.

Issues such as climate change, accessibility, sustainability, equity and healthy living have evolved since the current standards were put in place in 2003. The 2021 review will focus on:

  • Residential roads
  • Sidewalks
  • Cycling pathways
  • Multi-use pathways for walking, cycling and rollerblading

Results of the review will be shared later this year with the Transportation Committee and City Council, along with staff’s recommendations, to inform and establish updated WMQS for future winters.


  • The City manages approximately 2,300 kilometers of sidewalks and 12,900 lane kilometers of roads, transitway and local highway (Highway 174).
  • This network is winter maintained by approximately 525 staff dispersed throughout the city, complimented by contracted crews used to supplement service as needed throughout the winter season.
  • More than 50 kilometers of cycling network will be maintained this winter
  • Ottawa sees an average of 223 centimetres of snow annually, although this can fluctuate significantly, reaching 312 centimetres in the winter of 2018-19
  • 167,200 tonnes of rock and salt was used in 2019-20

For more information on City programs and services, visit or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1