As a general rule, depending on the severity of the storm:

  • the south urban area can expect complete service (salting and plowing) within 13 hours for snow storms up to 4” and within 24 hours for up to 8” of snow
  • the north rural area can expect complete service (salting or sanding and plowing) within 20 hours for snow storms up to 4” and within 30 hours for up to 8” of snow

If snowfall is exceptionally heavy, complicated by freezing rain or requires crews to work in peak traffic times, the operation times can be longer. For the 2021/2022 season, you may see salt trucks out at their “Loaded Standby position” during the AM or PM rush hours, if inclement weather is predicted to start during those periods. 

Another factor affecting snow clearance turnaround is the Ministry of Transportation Hours of Service regulation that prohibits drivers from driving more than 13 hours without a rest period. This requirement is strictly enforced.

Road Snow Clearing Process

  • when snow is forecasted within the next 48 hours, an application of NaCl (Sodium Chloride) is applied to select Main roads to prevent snow & ice bonding to the pavement hampering further snow & ice control operations
  • salt trucks are dispatched for paved roads only, once roads have become snow covered and snow “sticks” to the pavement
  • each salt route takes approximately 4 - 6 hours to complete
  • City staff determine whether to plow (usually 75mm / 3" of snowfall or more)
  • each snow plow route takes approximately 6 - 13 hours to complete
  • the rural gravel roads are monitored and plowed as necessary
  • if warranted, the rural gravel roads are then sanded
  • clean up operations take place up to 48 hours following the end of a snow event

Regional Roads

The Region of Durham is responsible for snow and ice control on Regional Roads such as Kingston Road, Bayly Street, etc. Visit the Region of Durham website for information on their winter control operations.


The Province of Ontario is responsible for winter control on highways. Visit to check weather and road conditions, register for updates about road closures, and Track My Plow to track the progress of snowplows and winter maintenance vehicles.

Federal Lands

Transport Canada, through its on-site property agent BGIS, is responsible for winter maintenance on some roads located within the City of Pickering. Those roads are identified on our Rural salting and sanding maps. If you have any concerns, please contact the National Service Call Centre at 1.888.526.5673.