Responsibility & Snow Clearance

It seems that there are a differing opinions when it comes to snow clearance in Waterloo Region, particularly Kitchener. From an article in The Record to an article in the Kitchener Post, citizens have quite varied views as to where responsibility for snow clearance lies. Being a person with a physical disability or difference that influences my ability to navigate built environments as well as natural environments, I have felt a need to take a stand on the issue.

Each time I see posts regarding this topic lately on social media, a question comes to mind that I haven’t noticed anyone else discussing in their comments. I ponder what role a province that has legislation in place that suggests it will reach full accessibility in just 7 or 8 years time has in making it possible for a person with mobility issues to be able to go and get their groceries or to meet a friend for a warm beverage. The individual who has mobility issues may not be physically able to clear the snow properly and therefore should not be expected to do so themselves. They may not have the financial resources to hire someone to clear the snow for them either.

If they are using a service such as Mobility Plus for transportation which offers accessible door to accessible door service, one could argue that the fire department needs to be called if snow is not cleared well enough for a driver to safely assist an individual in reaching the entrance of their building that should be cleared by the owner of the property if not the municipality. The driver cannot lift the individual and their wheelchair out of the vehicle, nor should they be expected to do so. Providing accessibility services does not make one superhuman.

We do not have universal rules across the province for snow clearance. We have corporations that own some properties, home owners that have their own properties, and we have other situations such as co-operatives and businesses which are each unique. If there were universal snow clearance rules that allowed barrier free access to all in a fair and equal manner, all parties of ownership would be able to operate the same in each jurisdiction.

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