Torontonians know what to expect from winter snowstorms: slower drives, cold weather, and lots of snow shovelling.
For Toronto seniors this presents a problem. A Toronto by-law states that sidewalks should be cleared within 24 hours of a snowfall ending, but some seniors in the Toronto snow removal program are left waiting up to 72 hours for service.
Ted Fairhurst, a senior in Toronto, is a member of the snow removal program, but has his doubts about its effectiveness.
“My wife put us on the list [last year], and we haven’t seen them yet,” Fairhurst said.
For Fairhurst, it’s not the shovelling that’s a problem, but rather the people that are.
“If you call 311 within two weeks, they’ll check [the shovelling], and another two weeks to clear it,” Fairhurst said. “It’s not effective.”
Susan Eng, the VP for Advocacy at the Canadian Associate of Retired Persons (CARP), agrees with Fairhurst’s concerns.
“There’s a big difference between the rules and promises and what actually happens on the ground,” Eng said. “Their (the city’s) attitude is that they’re doing someone a favor. The perspective is wrong. They need to refocus. The sidewalks need to be safe for pedestrians.”
The Toronto guidelines for snow removal from sidewalks start at 5 cm in January and February, and 8 cm in December and March.