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When it Snows

The City of North Bay's winter control maintenance is conducted in accordance with the Minimum Maintenance Standard of Ontario. Plowing begins when there is an accumulation of five centimetres, or two inches, of snow on major arterial and collector roads.  City standards specify that up to eight centimetres, or three inches, of snow may be allowed to accumulate on local residential and commercial areas, and up to 10 centimretres, or four inches, on rural roads before resources are deployed. In accordance with the provincial standard,the City does not include winter maintenance of parking spaces on City streets.  Maintenance of these spaces is second in priority to road maintenance and will be completed as time permits.


Roadways are cleared during a snowfall to reduce motorist and pedestrian hazards in accordance with the guidelines set out under the Minimum Maintenance Standard of Ontario. Depending on the severity of the weather event, it could take between 16 and 24 hours to complete the clearing of residential roadways after the snow has stopped falling. 

Road plowing priorities and standards during normal winter conditions are:

  1. Major arterial and collector roads (Class 2)
  2. Secondary collector roads and transit routes (Class 3)
  3. Local residential, commercial areas and minor hard-surfaced rural roads (Class 4 and 5)


In accordance with the guidelines set out under the Minimum Maintenance Standard of Ontario, all sidewalks are to be cleared 48 hours after an event where the accumulation is eight centimetres (three inches) or greater.

Sidewalk plowing priorities during a typical winter event are:

  1. Sidewalks adjacent to high-volume roadways with high pedestrian volumes.
  2. Sidewalks in the downtown core, including City Hall, North Bay Transit and the Discovery Museum.
  3. School areas and place of worship.

Snow Plowing Tips

  • Be patient and keep a safe distance (30m) behind working snow plows. Snow plows often travel slowly because they are removing snow, spreading salt, sand, and or applying anti-icing liquid to roadways.
  • Never pass a snow plow. Snow plows are wider than the average vehicle with large blades that extend a meter or more ahead and into the neighbouring lane. Passing a snow plow could result in a collision.
  • Don’t drive beside snow plows. You risk collision as snow plows sometimes shift sideways when they are plowing packed snow or drifts.
  • Move aside. Snow plows often drive along the centreline of a roadway to remove snow. If you are approaching a snow plow from the opposite direction, shift right if conditions allow to ensure there is enough space for them to pass you safely.
  • Beware of reduced visibility. Even at reduced plowing speeds, a light powdery snow forms a cloud in the wake of a snow plow that severely restricts a driver’s visibility making passing extremely dangerous.
  • Do not pass between snow plows in tandem. On multi-lane roads snow plows often work in tandem, referred to as “echelon” plowing. Passing or weaving between these plows is dangerous. Please stay well back of echelon plows.
  • Watch for snow plows on sunny days. Snow plows and removal equipment will be out for several hours after a storm clearing shoulders and cutting back snow banks. Please look out for plows even on clear days.