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February 13, 2013

Amendments to the Minimum Maintenance Standards - Part 1

The Minimum Maintenance Standards under the Municipal Act, 2001 were amended by Ontario Regulation 47/13, which came into effect on January 25, 2013.  Many of the amendments are a response to the Court of Appeal decision in Giuliani v. Halton (Regional Municipality), [2011] O.J. No. 5845 (C.A.) in which the court’s interpretation of the snow clearing and icy roadways standards limited their use as a defence to civil actions.  The amendments also provide more specific guidance to municipalities whose systems of winter road maintenance are based on the Minimum Maintenance Standards.  

In our next series of posts, we will be reviewing the changes to the MMS.
Part 1: New Definitions Added to Section 1
Section 1 of the MMS now contains the following definitions:
  • “Ice” is defined as “all kinds of ice, however formed”.  Ice was not previously defined.
  • “Snow accumulation” is defined as the natural accumulation of newly-fallen snow, wind-blown snow and/or slush that covers more than half a lane width of a roadway.  This definition was previously contained in the snow accumulation standard in section 4 of the MMS, which has been replaced as discussed below.
  • “Substantial probability” is defined as “a significant likelihood considerably in excess of 51 per cent”.  This definition relates to patrols and maintenance activities that are done in anticipation of snow accumulation or ice formation, discussed below.  This definition may be the subject of debate in future civil cases, as it does not specify how much more than 51 per cent is “considerably in excess”.
  • “Weather” is defined as “air temperature, wind and precipitation”.  Weather was not previously defined.

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