The Regional Municipality Of York


Declaring a Significant Weather Event

Snow Plow with Transparent Triad Background

Ontario Regulation 239/02, Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, allows municipalities to declare a significant weather event when:

  • A weather event is approaching or occurring
  • The weather hazard has the potential to pose a significant danger to users of the highways which they have authority over
  • Environment Canada has issued an Alert

During hazardous weather conditions, motorists should take precautions and allow for extra travel time.

How does the declaration impact residents?

Residents may not notice a change in road operations compared to other winter events. York Region will be monitoring weather conditions closely, deploying all available resources to address snow and ice accumulation and make roads safe for travel.

When will York Region declare a significant weather event?

York Region may declare a significant weather event when Environment Canada issues warnings for one or more of the following conditions:

  • Blizzard
  • Blowing snow
  • Flash freeze
  • Freezing drizzle
  • Freezing rain
  • Snow fall
  • Snow squall
  • Winter storm

The declaration of a significant weather event will end when Environment Canada cancels the related warning.

Details of Environment Canada’s criteria for issuing an Alert can be found here:

What are Minimum Maintenance Standards?

Municipalities in Ontario follow standards for road maintenance set by provincial regulation, Ontario Regulation 239/02, Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways.

The standards have timelines for road maintenance based on road classification. Roads are classified by speed limit and annual daily traffic.

How have the Minimum Maintenance Standards changed?

The Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) were amended in May 2018 to allow municipalities to declare a significant weather event. Standards for bicycle lanes and sidewalks were also updated.

What roads does York Region maintain?

York Region is responsible for maintaining the major arterial roads that connect its nine local municipalities. There are more than 4,200 lane kilometres of Regional roads. Winter operations include snow plowing, snow removal, sanding, salting and use of salt-brine to help prevent ice build-up.

Side streets and sidewalks are maintained by local towns and cities. The 400 series highways are maintained by the province of Ontario.

Visit the Regional roads page for an interactive map of Regional roads.

What steps can travellers take during hazardous weather conditions?

  • Stay off the roads if possible, during extreme weather conditions
  • Take public transit rather than driving
  • Allow for extra travel time
  • Install winter tires
  • Clear snow, ice and frost from windows, headlights, tail lights and roof
  • Top up windshield fluid
  • Carry a road-side emergency kit
  • Pedestrians should be visible and be seen

How can residents find out if York Region is declaring a significant weather event?

Follow @YorkRegionGovt on Twitter or view the latest posts here:

York Region’s Road and Traffic Operations Centre can be reached by calling 1-877-464-9675 ext. 75200 or by emailing  

Declaring a Significant Weather Event,weather event is approaching,weather hazard dangerous,environment canada weather alerts York Region may declare a significant weather event when Environment Canada issues warnings for one or more of the following conditions, blizzard, blowing snow, flash freeze, freezing drizzle. The Regional Municipality of York en-US News

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