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Snow Removal

We're always up when the snow comes down!

Snow clearing at York

Facilities Services monitors the weather conditions closely and continuously. Snow clearing on campus roads, pathways, and parking lots is an ongoing activity. The timing of the snowfall and the amount of snow that falls combined with high winds, can cause snow to drift and severely impact conditions.

Keeping snow off pathways can be challenging during this type of weather event. Please take all precautions necessary when travelling.

If you encounter areas where accessibility is affected by the snow, please report this to the Facilities Work Control Centre 416-736-2100 extension 22401 or email

If you have a disability, either temporary or permanent, please consider registering with VanGo, email or call 416 736-5140 to assist with travel on campus.

Did you know our Grounds team maintains a 24/7 presence on site during the winter months?

The City of Toronto requires every owner or occupant of any building, must within 12 hours after any fall of snow, rain or hail has ceased, to clear away and completely remove snow and ice from any sidewalk on any highway in front of, alongside or at the rear of the building. Business and property owners are responsible for ensuring that all ice and snow is cleared on sidewalks, driveways, parking spaces, steps, ramps and landings within 12 hours of snowfall to provide safe access for people and vehicles.

Our Procedures:

For Snow fall accumulation of 4 cm:  When 4 cm of snow has accumulated, Grounds Management will call in additional staff to begin plowing, salting and sanding for Snow fall accumulation of 4 cm and more, our Grounds team maintains a 24/7 presence on site during the winter months. When 4 cm of snow has accumulated, Grounds Management will call in additional staff to begin plowing, salting and sanding the roads and sidewalks, while special heavy machinery is brought in to plow the large exterior lots. When snow continues to fall and accumulation exceeds 4 cm, all available staff and machinery are put into action. The staff undertakes this work because the safety of the Community is their top priority.

Prior to a snow fall, Grounds staff applies de-icers to major pathways including roads, fire routes, bus stops, walkways and parking areas. When inclement weather arrives, Grounds staff are on site and provide continuous service throughout a snow event. Depending on the timing of the snow fall, Grounds staff will work well into the evening and throughout the night to ensure the campus is fully serviced and ready for the morning.

Order of Priority for snow removal:

  1. Primary roads, including fire and bus routes, escape doors and stairways
  2. Major sidewalks, main building entrances ramps, curb cuts and parking spaces used by individuals with disabilities
  3. Secondary sidewalks and secondary building entrances
  4. Secondary roads and parking lots

For Snow fall accumulation of less than 4 cm:  In the event of a snow fall with accumulation of 4 cm or less, the Grounds staff will start work at their regular scheduled time — 6 a.m. This allows adequate time for quick action to remove light snow and ice. York University staff are on site 24/7 in order to begin clearing and applying de-icer materials as needed.

De-icers:  York University is environmentally conscious, as such we minimize the use of rock salt to reduce corrosion and to avoid tracking salt into buildings. A mixture of sand and salt is mainly used for de-icing purposes. Pure rock salt might be used during an ice storm or if there is freezing rain. Magnesium chloride pellets are used on concrete surfaces or at building entrances and stairways to help minimize corrosion. Brine de-icing liquid is a material which is applied proactively on road surfaces, parking lots and major side walks. Brine is more effective at lower temperatures when conditions are appropriate. Brine is considered more sustainable and better for the environment than salt; brine prevents ice from sticking to the roads, making removal of ice from the roads much easier.

Did you know our Grounds unit is equipped with the following equipment and staff who are responsible for clearing 28 kilometres of pathways as well as internal roads on the York campus?

Staffing and Equipment: 

  • 4 side walk clearing machines with plows and sanders; 6 plow trucks with salter/sanders; 1 wing plow with salter/sander; 3 loaders; all equipped with a GPS tracking system to ensure work is completed.
  • 20 staff on board providing hand shovelling; 7 operators for the plow equipment

Note: Staff are on site 24 hours a day Monday - Friday and on weekends from 7 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. After hours, the On-Call process takes effect (as required);

  • External support servicing large parking lots (consisting of 8 heavy vehicles).

The Grounds unit at Glendon Campus is equipped with the following equipment and staff:

  • 2 plow trucks with salter/sanders; 1 sidewalk clearing machine with a salter/sander;
  • 4 staff on board operating equipment and providing hand shovelling;

Note: Staff are on site Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Weekends 7.a.m-3:30 p.m. After hours, the On-Call process takes effect (as required).

Accessibility of Paths on Campus:  The Grounds unit makes reasonable efforts to keep paths clear. However, significant weather events can create challenges for some community members. If you have a medical situation in which your  mobility is affected, it is strongly recommended that you discuss strategies and resources with Student Accessibility Services (students) or Health, Safety and Employee Well-Being (for employees), some options may include Van Go, Go Safe, alternate routes, etc.

Please consider contacting:

Student Accessibility Services
Health Safety and Employee Well-Being
VanGO, Campus pick up and drop off service

In the case of significant weather events, please consider the following:

  • Check if the university is open at the York University weather status page:
  • Ensure that you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear for safety;
  • If you have concerns about getting to class, check if there are other ways to participate or obtain the information (video conferencing, notes, recordings, etc.);
  • If you encounter accessibility issues due to snow, ice, etc. on campus, please report areas that require attention to the Facilities Services Work Control Centre at (416) 736-2100 extension 22401 or email at

All community members who encounter a safety challenge while outside during inclement weather, please email us at and/or call Security at (416) 736-2100 extension: 58000.