Ottawa expects to take two days to clear roads during ‘once every 10 years’ snowstorm

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The city of Ottawa is urging residents to stay off the roads and sidewalks on Monday, as a “once every 10 years” snowstorm hits the capital.

With 25 to 40 centimetres of snow expected in Ottawa, city officials warn it will be Monday evening or Tuesday morning before they see snowplows on some residential streets.

“This is to the level where we typically see these events once every 10 years, so this is not a typical event,” said Alain Gonthier, director of Roads and Parking Services with the city of Ottawa.

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Ottawa.


The city of Ottawa has issued a 24-hour parking ban between 7 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. Tuesday, and there will be no garbage, recycling and green bin pickup on Monday due to the snow.

City staff declared a “Significant Weather Event”, warning the city “will not be meeting our winter maintenance objectives” during the storm, and “snow-clearing operations will take longer than usual.”

Gonthier told reporters on Sunday afternoon that all available resources will be deployed to clear roads and sidewalks, but the magnitude of the snow will slow down operations.

“We are ready to respond, but residents really need to understand that this is not another typical snowstorm,” said Gonthier.

“As the snow starts to fall, we will be focused on our priority networks – our priority sidewalks, our priority roads – which are arterials, major collectors, the 174 – and the winter cycling network, and we’re going to be focused on that for the initial parts of the event.”

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Gonthier says the main focus will be on the priority routes before snowplows begin clearing residential streets.

“We only anticipate being able to start even getting into residential communities later in the evening (Monday) and overnight hour (Tuesday),” said Gonthier, adding snowplows could begin hitting residential streets after 7 p.m. Monday.

Gonthier says that in addition to the volume of snow, strong winds will create challenges for crews.

“We’re going to have to be doing multiple pass just to keep our priority networks – in terms of our roads, our sidewalks and the winter cycling network – cleared because there’s going to be a lot of drifting snow,” Gonthier.


OC Transpo warns transit users may see delays on routes on Monday.

“Please allow extra time for your travels and take care when boarding, exiting, and at station platforms,” said OC Transpo.

For the Confederation Line, OC Transpo says additional resources, including specialized equipment and extra staff, are brought in to ensure service continues to operate.

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The city of Ottawa has issued a 24-hour parking ban, from 7 p.m. Monday to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Only vehicles with on-street parking permits can park on city streets during a parking ban.

“This is very uncommon that we call such a lengthy parking ban. The reason for that is just because of the intensity of the event and our ability to manage our resources between how much we can do in residential areas and the priority network,” said Gonthier.

“We’re not going to be in a position to start residential areas until we have a better handle in terms of the condition of our priority networks.”

During winter weather parking bans, residents can access select  OC Transpo park and rides as well as certain recreation centres for parking. Visit for more information.


There will be no curbside or multi-residential green bin, recycling or garbage collection on Monday due to the storm.

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The city says Monday’s pick-up will take place on Tuesday, and all collection will be delayed by one day all week.


Ottawa Public Library branches will be closed on Monday.

All bookmobile and homebound deliveries are also cancelled.


All Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 community vaccination clinics will be closed on Monday due to the snow.

In a statement, Ottawa Public Health says due to the anticipated “significant snowfall event” and to ensure the safety of residents, all COVID-19 community vaccine clinics will be temporarily closed.

“Those with appointments are being contacted directly,” said OPH on Twitter.

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