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Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Feb. 20, 2023 – What are Burlington’s Service Levels for Snow-Clearing & Use of Salt/Sand?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward Mailbag

Welcome to the Mayor’s Monday Mailbag, an initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office launched to share weekly answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at or the Mayor’s social media platforms.

At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.

Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Feb. 20, 2023


“What are the City of Burlington service levels for snow-clearing roads, and the use of salt and sand?”


Every winter season, the City of Burlington provides snow removal services throughout the city. Our fleet of snow-clearing equipment and crews strive to clear roads and sidewalks as quickly and efficiently as possible. We maintain 1,900 km of roads and 850 km of sidewalks in all.

Priority Snow-Clearing

As snow begins to accumulate, our snowplows clear roads in a priority order based on road classification:

  • Primary and secondary roads are plowed when snow accumulation reaches five cm (or two inches); and
  • Local residential roads are plowed when snow accumulation reaches 7.5 cm (or three inches) and when primary and secondary road plowing has been completed.

Depending on weather conditions, snowplows and our snow-clearing equipment may need to return to primary roads to keep them clear of snow. We aim to have all roads in the city plowed within 24-hours after the snow has stopped falling.

If residents would like to make a snow-clearing request, we ask they please wait 24 hours after a snowstorm has ended before contacting the City. Our snow-clearing staff concentrate on primary and secondary routes before reaching residential roads. Residents can reach the City during regular business hours by phone at 905-335-7777 or by email at

Winter Response Standards

Burlington, as well as the majority of other municipalities, follow Provincial standards for winter response and snow-pack is permitted under these standards for local roads.

Providing a bare pavement level of service to all local residential streets would be a significant budget impact as it also would require additional equipment resources and result in a considerable increase in the amount of salt used to achieve this change.

The City of Burlington, as well as other Canadian road agencies are required to mitigate salt-use, and increasing its use to achieve bare pavement on local roads would counter this initiative and result in a notable environmental impact.

Sanding vs. Salting

As previously mentioned, the increased use of salt would provide major impacts to the environment and the City’s annual budget.

The City mitigates the use of salt through a number of best practices that include using sand instead or a sand/salt mix where appropriate. The use of sand is an industry-wide practice and its use can be very effective to ensuring safe road conditions.

If residents believe their roads are still slippery after sanding, please contact Service Burlington at to report it and staff can go out to investigate the safety conditions and determine what further appropriate actions need to be taken to make the road safe for travel.

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1 thought on “Mayor’s Monday Mailbag – Feb. 20, 2023 – What are Burlington’s Service Levels for Snow-Clearing & Use of Salt/Sand?”

  1. I walked in downtown Oakville and Burlington yesterday.
    The difrence between the two cities is absolutely incredible.
    Where Oakville was able to preserve the small town charm, the city of Burlington became a town if high rise condos.
    So dissapointing😞
    Especially since there is no visible infrastructure to support increased traffic in Burlington.

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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