Procedure #NP464.0, Snow/Ice Clearance and Removal


The Snow/Ice Clearance and Removal procedure addresses the practices to be followed with regards to the clearance and removal of snow and ice on Board properties and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of Board staff and Board-approved contractors.

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Stakeholder Groups with Responsibilities Under this Policy

  • Principals/Vice-Principals
  • Caretakers
  • Supervisors of Facility Services
  • Plant Services Managers, Assistant Managers and Forepersons - Maintenance and Operations (Caretaking)
  • Board-approved snow plow contractors


Relationship to Board priorities

This procedure supports the Board’s efforts to provide safe and caring environments and student and staff well-being.


It is the expectation of the York Region District School Board that all employees, students and persons invited to or visiting Board property, or partaking/volunteering in Board or school-sponsored events and activities, will respect the policies and procedures of the Board.


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Board Procedure #NP464.0 Snow/Ice Clearance and Removal

This procedure outlines uniform practices to be followed by staff regarding snow/ice clearance and removal at Board locations, for the purposes of access and safety and with consideration for environmental and fiscal responsibility.


1. Definitions


1.1 Clearance Plan

A clearance plan is a location-specific document indicating the areas of Board property and neighbouring locations, where applicable, from which snow is to be cleared by Board staff, contractors and/or partnering organizations. The plan is also to indicate where snow is to be piled.


1.2 Contractors

Contractors are insured, licensed and Board-approved organizations or proprietors that agree to furnish materials or perform services under specified terms at a specified price.


1.3 Hard Surfaces

Hard surfaces are made of asphalt, interlocking brick or concrete.


1.4 Pickled Sand

Pickled sand is sand mixed with salt.


1.5 Salting

Salting is a process in which salt, or another Board-approved melting agent, is applied to hard surfaces, either by hand, hand-held devices or mechanical means, in order to melt ice or to be preemptive in the case of anticipated ice. Under no condition is salt and/or any other melting agent to be applied to sodded/grassed areas.


1.6 Sanding

Sanding is a process in which pickled sand is applied to hard surfaces, either by hand, hand-held devices or other mechanical means, in order to increase traction on ice.


1.7 Minimum Snow Accumulation for Plowing

The minimum amount of snow accumulation before plowing will occur is five centimeters.


1.8 Snow Clearance

Snow clearance is all operations associated with snow removal including, but not limited to plowing, blowing, salting and sanding. Snow clearance is based on accumulation and does not mean that hard surfaces are cleared completely. In accordance with changing weather conditions, snow will be cleared in a timely manner and in accordance with snow clearance standards.

Minimal snow clearance of hard surfaces in designated play areas is to occur. Exceptions to this include areas immediate to doorways, the provision of access to portables, where non-clearance has demonstrated and/or is anticipated to result in facility damage such as flooding, in some cases where the site is co-serviced with another organization with different standards, and where there is a documented student need due to mobility issues.


1.9 Snow Plowing

Snow plowing is the process of removing snow from designated hard-surface areas into pre-approved piling areas.


1.10 Snow Relocation

Snow relocation is the process of moving, pushing or piling snow in order to better accommodate additional snow falls and to maintain parking spaces. The snow is not removed from the site.


1.11 Snow Removal

Snow removal is the process of moving snow to another off-site location.


2. Responsibilities


2.1 The Director of Education shall:

  1. allocate staff and resources to support the Snow/Ice Clearance and Removal procedure.


2.2 Coordinating Council of Superintendents shall:

  1. approve snow clearance standards.


2.3 The Associate Manager, Administrative Services shall:

  1. obtain and maintain agreements with organizations external to the Board such as, but not limited to municipalities, owners of neighbouring properties, and the York Catholic District School Board for clearance, removal, salting and sanding services of shared-use properties.


2.4 Purchasing Services shall:

  1. assist in the procurement of contractors for snow clearance, removal and salting services, and associated equipment and supplies.


2.5 Planning and Property Development Services and Plant Services Construction shall:

  1. consider, in the design of new schools, clearance operations including snow relocation, minimizing of hard-surface areas inaccessible by snowplows, and drainage that will safely facilitate runoff.


2.6 Maintenance and Operations (Caretaking) shall:

  1. manage the snow clearance services, routine snow relocation services, and delivery of sand to all Board locations with the exception of those maintained by partnering organizations.


2.7 Manager of Operations (Caretaking) shall:

  1. administer snow clearance standards in conjunction with Maintenance, Finance Services, Administrative Services and Education and Community Services;

  2. ensure site plans, showing building perimeter, portable perimeter(s) (if applicable), and hard-surface areas, are available for contractors and staff members responsible for developing snow clearance plans;

  3. ensure contractors are secured for snow clearance and relocation, salting, ice melt and sand delivery services in routine and non-routine situations in conjunction with Purchasing Services;

  4. ensure contingency snow removal plans are developed; and

  5. manage all aspects of snow removal service contracts.


2.8 Manager of Maintenance Services shall:

  1. ensure that staff members and equipment are available to undertake relocation operations not assigned to contractors; and

  2. coordinate the distribution of sand to school sites that are not serviced by contractors.


2.9 Assistant Managers, Operations (Caretaking) shall:

  1. prior to start-up of snow removal services;

    • review snow clearance plans with caretakers and principals or site supervisors,

    • visit each school or work location with snow clearance operators to identify and locate all site conditions, paying particular attention to designated areas for students with special needs and special accommodation requirements,

    • clarify differentiation of work between caretakers and contractors, and

    • locate appropriate piling areas;

  2. coordinate with contractors;

    • snow clearance services and the delivery of sand to pre-determined Board locations, where applicable,

    • routine snow relocation services to pre-determined Board locations in order to accommodate additional snow fall and to maintain adequate parking spaces, where applicable,

    • the delivery of sand to schools at pre-determined locations upon request, and

    • work that falls outside of the scope of regular service;

  3. ensure, in conjunction with the Supervisors of Facility Services, that caretaking staff members at each location are trained in and available for the undertaking of school-based operations related to snow clearance;

  4. respond to questions by school staff members about snow clearance plans and the differentiation of responsibilities between caretaking staff members and snow removal contractors;

  5. ensure that suitable snow blowing and other necessary equipment is available and in good repair at each work location, in conjunction with Maintenance Services;

  6. authorize clearance operations over and above contractual requirements;

  7. authorize additional service, such as, but not limited to snow plowing, salting, sanding identified by the caretaking staff not included in contracts;

  8. review new school site plans to ensure adequate snow storage areas; and

  9. coordinate routine repairs to Board-owned equipment used for snow clearance.


2.10 Maintenance Forepersons shall:

  • coordinate with staff members;

    • the delivery of sand to pre-determined Board locations, where applicable,

    • the delivery of sand to schools at pre-determined locations upon request, and

    • snow relocation services to pre-determined Board locations not assigned to contractors.


2.11 Maintenance Staff shall:

  1. for all snow relocation operations, work at their discretion outside of school hours, and with principal authorization during school hours.


2.12 Caretaking Staff Members shall:

  1. ensure all mechanical snow clearance equipment is in good working order and report any deficiencies using the Repair and Replacement (R&R) system;

  2. ensure shovels are in good working order and report any deficiencies to the Supervisor of Facility Services;

  3. make every reasonable effort, consistent with personal safety, to clear sidewalks and other hard-surface areas in accordance with the clearance plan including areas immediate to doorways;

  4. understand that access to the main entrance is top priority and ensure the entrance is clear;

  5. subsequent to the main entrance, make accessible all other entrances with a clearance zone of at least three (3) metres;

  6. clear other areas identified on the clearance plan as being the responsibility of the caretaking staff members such as, but not limited to walkways and fire hydrants;

  7. for safety, use Board-approved melting agents on small, hard-surface, high-traffic areas that become slippery through snow compaction or freezing of melted run-off or any other factors;

  8. use Board-approved sand to provide traction on small, high-traffic areas;

  9. alone and/or in consultation with principals, make a request to the Assistant Manager Operations (Caretaking) for service over and above contracted specifications;

  10. clear snow and ice from small portions of the hard surface to accommodate specific student needs and/or to clear a path across the hard surface to the playing field, as requested by the principal;

  11. report services that do not conform to the specifications of the contract and the snow clearance plan to the appropriate Assistant Manager Operations (Caretaking);

  12. if concerns arise about how a contractor is undertaking the work associated with the snow clearance and relocation plan, accurately document and electronically forward the following information to Plant Services for action;

    • the nature of the concern,

    • two to four photographs of the area or problem,

    • the date and time the pictures were taken,

    • the temperature at the time the pictures were taken, and

    • the time of the last contractor service,

  13. information about the general weather conditions such as, but not limited to accumulation, drifting and freezing rain; using the Repair and Replacement (R&R) system, notify Maintenance of any snow relocation required that is not assigned to a contractor;

  14. using the Repair and Replacement (R&R) system, notify Plant Services of any additional sand barrel refilling/top-up requirements or salting needs; request the need for ice melting products prior to the start of the winter season from the appropriate Supervisor of Facility Services or Operations (Caretaking);

  15. identify, log and report site damage caused by contractors or Board staff;

  16. log all weather conditions and clearance operations in the Caretaker Guidebook of which they are aware; and

  17. request the Assistant Manager Operations (Caretaking) consider the requirement for additional service such as, but not limited to snow plowing, salting or sanding not included in contracts.


2.13 Principals, Site Managers or Designates shall:

  1. identify a designated area to be cleared of snow to reasonably accommodate students with special needs or accessibility considerations;

  2. ensure any injuries by staff members resulting from weather conditions are reported as per Procedure #NP190.0, Worker’s Compensation Claims;

  3. ensure any injuries by students and/or community members resulting from weather conditions are reported as per Procedure #NP138, Insurance, Student Injury and Personal Property;

  4. ensure that parking agreements with bus and/or vehicle operators do not interfere with snow clearance operations;

  5. notify Plant Services of any vehicles on Board property that may interfere with snow clearance operations;

  6. seek written approval from the Manager Operations (Caretaking) prior to arranging additional work by contractors;

  7. prior to the winter season, discuss the snow clearance plan with staff members to ensure understanding and to identify any additional factors that maximize staff and student safety such as, but not limited to outdoor activities, appropriate footwear, winter programming ideas and the creation of paths from the building to outdoor playing locations; and

  8. prior to the winter season, communicate the snow clearance plan to parents and students and request feedback to maximize safety such as, but not limited to appropriate footwear, changes to drop-off zones and the non-use of certain access routes to the site.


2.14 Contractors shall:

  1. be required, at time of bid and subsequently upon request, to provide;

    • the names of equipment operators and sub-contractors, and

    • a vehicle and equipment list;

  2. provide service to locations seven days a week, includin

    g all school holidays;

  3. when feasible, conduct snow plowing prior to 7:00 a.m., with, in the case of major accumulations, priority given to bus loops and parking areas;

  4. be available to provide service from November 1 to May 1 of each contract year;

  5. undertake all operations as per specifications identified in the contract and in accordance with municipal by-laws;

  6. during the development of the snow clearance plan, consider clearing hard-surface areas surrounding portables; and

  7. ensure written approval has been granted by the Manager Operation (Caretaking) prior to accepting work at the request of school staff.


2.14.1 Contractors may:

  1. for all clearance operations, work at their discretion outside of school hours, and with principal clearance during school hours.


3. Department

Plant Services


4. Procedure History

Approved January 31, 1985

Replacing Procedure #462.0, Snowplowing October 2008

Working Document February 2014

Revised January 2015