Winter maintenance for commercial properties
When it comes to salting, more isn’t better.
Check the weather map
Stay prepared for the winter weather by using the Peel weather map.
Businesses are responsible for the safety of others on their properties, including preventing slips and falls. During winter months, using too much salt is worse than using the right amount. More is never better.
- Be a trip and fall hazard.
- Damage concrete.
- Damage nearby plants and trees.
- Damage indoor floors and carpets.
- Cause shoes to wear out faster.
- Harm a car's exterior and interior.
- Harm our lake, river, and stream ecosystems.
- Impact our drinking water quality over the long term.
Alternatives to salting
During winter months, consider these alternatives to salting areas of your property:
- Close areas that are not required, such as outdoor patios and multiple entrances, and post a “Closed Area” sign.
- Use sand, grit, non-clumping kitty litter, or magnesium chloride. These products will provide traction and work better when weather is below -10C. (Salt doesn't work in extreme cold temperatures.)
Sustainable Winter Management Workshop
On September 14th, 2023, sustainability professionals, operations and property managers, and winter maintenance contractors came together to deliver a half-day workshop on sustainable winter maintenance. Access the materials presented.
The following resources for businesses, property owners, and contractors are provided in partnership with Credit Valley Conservation and the Region of Peel.
Contractor management and procurement
Build responsible salt use into your winter maintenance contractor relationships by:
- Hiring a Smart About Salt Contractor. Smart About Salt contractors are trained to improve winter salting practices.
- Building salt use best practices into your winter maintenance contracts. View the factsheet and guide.
- Asking contractors to provide pre-season equipment calibration measures and winter event logs throughout the season to ensure they’re following best practices.
Certification and training
Demonstrate your commitment to reduce environmental harm through proper snow and ice management.
- Certify your public or private site with Smart About Salt.
- Find training for staff and facility owners and operators through Smart About Salt.
- Confirm that your salting equipment is Salt Application Verified.
Do-it-yourself quick wins
Get started now with these winter maintenance quick wins:
- Create or update your winter maintenance plan by using the Region of Waterloo’s winter maintenance worksheet.
- Close off underused walkways and parking lots and alert staff and visitors with no winter maintenance signage.
- Design your parking lot with winter maintenance in mind.
Promote winter safety at work
Keep staff, visitors, and others safe by:
- Promoting winter safety, best practices, and salt awareness.
- Following these snow blower safety tips.
- Following these shovelling safety tips.
- Learning about pollution prevention for salt handling.
Learn more about the impacts of road salt on the environment and what you can do to better manage snow and ice on your property.
- A Watershed Under Threat – The impact of road salt on the Great Lakes (source: WWF)
- Battle of Evidence: The side with the best records often wins a slip and fall lawsuit – How keeping records is your best defense against winter maintenance liability (source: Landscape Ontario)
- Legislative solutions to slip and fall liability – Learn about the updates to Bill 118 that help protect property owners and contractors from slip and fall liability (source: Landscape Ontario)
- The hidden high costs of road salt – (source: Credit Valley Conservation (CVC))
Services and online information
- Sustainable Technologies Evaluation Program (STEP) Resource Library
- Greening Corporate Grounds – A program offered by Credit Valley Conservation to help businesses and institutions build sustainability into their properties with sustainable landscaping.
- Sustainable Salt Management Resource Hub - Protect environmental, infrastructure, and human safety (Source: Partners in Project Green)
- Landscape Ontario’s recommended 2021-22 Snow Products guide
- Salt Alternatives Factsheet – A comprehensive review of salt alternatives, their benefits, and their drawbacks. (Source: STEP)
- Winter Salt Information – Includes articles and resources about the harmful affects of road salt. (Source: Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority)
- Winter Maintenance for Commercial Properties –Tips and tricks for managing snow and ice on corporate properties. (Source: City of Waterloo)
- In Winter, Let’s All Be Less Salty - Explains how using excessive amounts of road salt can seriously harm the ecosystem for freshwater wildlife like fish, turtles, and frogs and why we should all try to be less salty. (WWF)
- Take Sustainability Outside – Shows how sustainable landscaping can help you reduce conventional property maintenance costs, decrease flood risk, offset carbon emissions, extend the longevity of infrastructure like parking lots and buildings, and increase employee and volunteer health and well-being. (CVC)
Tools and templates
- Verification Protocol for Parking Lot Salt Spreaders (SAVE)
- Salt Calibration Calculations Table (STEP)
Certification and training
- Certify and promote your company as Smart About Salt
- Get your salting equipment Salt Application Verified
- Exploring Salt's Impact (Source: Snow Magazine)
- A win-win for winter maintenance - New Hampshire’s certification model benefits the environment, contractors, and the public (Source: HortTrades)
- Battle of Evidence: The side with the best records often wins a slip and fall lawsuit – How keeping records is your best defense against winter maintenance liability (Source: Landscape Ontario)
- Legislative solutions to slip and fall liability – Learn about updates to Bill 118 that help protect property owners and contractors from slip and fall liability (Source: Landscape Ontario)
- 2021-22 Snow Products Guide (Source: Landscape Ontario)
- Best Practice Guide for Road Salt in Winter Maintenance (Source: Clear Roads)