Whose Job Is It to Clear the Sidewalks?

Whose Job Is It to Clear the Sidewalks?

Whose Job Is It to Clear the Sidewalks?

Whose Job Is It to Clear the Sidewalks?

Although city bylaws may seem a bit murky on whose responsibility it is to clear the sidewalks, one thing is clear: it must be done!

In in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, the deadline to clear snow and ice from sidewalks is 10 a.m., while Surrey and the city of North Vancouver require that it be done “as soon as possible.”

Whose Responsibility Is It?


Tom Durning, of the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre in Vancouver, states that, “In general it’s the landlord’s responsibility, especially in multi-unit buildings. He also recommends that frustrated tenants remind the landlord in writing of their winter responsibilities.

“Anybody who owns a rental property of more than one unit should be looking at keeping the sidewalks clear, and ignorance of the law is no excuse,” said Durning.

If you rent a whole house, the tenant is “generally” responsible, although it can depend on the terms of rental. Renters should clarify with their landlord who is taking responsibility for snow clearing to ensure city bylaws are being met.

Condo Dwellers:

According to Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C., the responsibility for snow clearing falls to the strata corporation.

“That’s one of the reasons why people live in a condo in the first place, so they don’t have to do stuff like that anymore,” said Gioventu. “That’s why we pay [strata maintenance] fees, is to be able to hire people to do those kinds of jobs for us.”


Business who own their space are responsible for snow clearing. For businesses that lease space, it depends on the terms of the lease, according to Charles Gauthier of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

“At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter whose job it is to do it,” he said. “They should make every effort to make their business accessible.” It’s good business to have a safe entrance, free of any snow and ice hazards.

Enforcing the Rules:

Snow and ice clearing is enforced in Vancouver after complaints or if city crews observe safety issues. Fines for repeat offenders are $250 per offence at a single-family or duplex home and can rise to a maximum of $2,000 for businesses and multi-unit apartment buildings.

Ultimately, the responsibility to keep people safe in winter is a shared responsibility. “Whether you are a property owner or tenant, you are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks around your residence and business,” states the city of Vancouver’s website.