Ottawa

Bylaw nabs unlicensed snowplow operators

The City of Ottawa is warning consumers to make sure the private snow removal company they hire is licensed after bylaw officers issued 19 charges to operators earlier this week for not having a licence.

City has laid 40 charges against snowplow operators so far this year

There are 316 licensed snow plow operators in the city of Ottawa. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The City of Ottawa is warning consumers to make sure the private snow removal company they hire is licensed after bylaw officers issued 19 charges to snowplow operators earlier this week for not having a licence.

Several times during the winter, after significant snowfalls, city bylaw officers fan out across Ottawa checking that snow removal companies are licensed.

City bylaw has laid 40 charges against snow plow operators so far in 2018.

There are 316 licensed snow clearing companies listed on the city's website.  

Roger Chapman, director of bylaw and regulatory services, said bylaw goes out after major snowfalls to catch unlicensed plow operators. (supplied )

Roger Chapman, the City of Ottawa's director of bylaw and regulatory services, says the blitz is carried out to protect consumers. 

"To make sure the contractor is acting appropriately and upholding their end of the contract by showing up when there are significant snow events and they are actually removing the snow which they signed on to do," said Chapman.

'Everyone has to be licensed'

Chapman said both the operator and each vehicle that removes snow have to be licensed.

To obtain the licence an operator must prove they carry the appropriate insurance.

Chapman said people operating without a licence are "taking a chance" and face a fine of $260.

"We want to ensure there's a fair playing field out there so everyone has to be licensed."

Bylaw services does not deal with complaints such as an operator damaging private property while cleaning snow. For that, Chapman says, a person must speak to the company directly and if not satisfied, civil action is an option.  

But there is one bright spot for Chapman after this week's blitz — a significant decline in another type of bylaw infraction. 

"The encouraging part is that we didn't find any operators that were actually depositing snow on the road." 

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