City to Alert Residents of Significant Weather Events

Dec 3, 2020

An amendment to the City’s Winter Control Policy includes the ability to declare a Significant Weather Event (SWE) in line with the provincial Minimum Maintenance Standards for winter road maintenance. 

A significant weather event is an approaching or occurring weather hazard with the potential to pose a danger to motorists. Weather Hazards are determined by Environment Canada as meeting the criteria for the issuance of an alert under its Public Weather Alerting Program.

The declaration of a Significant Weather Event suspends the standard timelines required for municipalities to meet their winter maintenance objectives until the municipality declares the Significant Weather Event over. Once a declaration has ended, standard timelines for winter maintenance activities begin.

The intent of a declaration is to notify the public that due to the current weather conditions, caution is to be exercised when travelling on the City’s streets and sidewalks, and that it may take longer than usual to restore them to the normal condition. The Significant Weather Event Communication Protocol will ensure residents are informed and up-to-date if a Significant Weather Event is declared.

Should a Significant Weather Event be declared, residents will be kept informed through the City’s social media channels and website, and local media outlets. City staff will ensure coordination with all municipal services such as transit, leisure services, emergency services and utilities to provide up-to-date information. 

Enhanced communication throughout a Significant Weather Event is important to ensure residents have the information they need in order to be prepared and stay safe during a storm. When Environment Canada issues a Weather Alert Warning for the area, City staff will monitor the approaching weather conditions.

During an SWE, one of five levels will be announced at various times. These include: Warning, Warning Cancelled, Declared, Update and Ended.

For more information regarding Significant Weather Events, including Frequently Asked Questions, visit To view a video regarding what you can expect during an SWE, visit