August 4, 2021
Gerald Boot
Gerald Boot

A Canadian snow and ice management standard

WHEN THE LANDSCAPE ONTARIO SNOW AND ICE SECTOR GROUP was formed 25 years ago, it was clearly stated by Robert Kennaley (LO’s legal counsel) that the industry needed a standard in order to deal with the significant risk management issues. Kennaley is an Honorary Member of Landscape Ontario and developed the LO Standard Snow Contract.

I am pleased to announce the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), at the request of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and Landscape Ontario, accepted a proposal to undertake a scoping review process on the need and support for a snow and ice standard. 

Thousands of contractors struggle with good intentions, but without any industry guidance with respect to snow and ice management. In many cases contractors make up their own management systems, training and methods in performing work.

The lack of guidance makes it difficult for any contractor to explain their documents and methods, leading to difficulty in adequately defending any negligence claim made against them. 

The reality is that insurance costs have skyrocketed because of the lack of a standard indicating contractor, owner, procurement, material and equipment requirements.

In addition, the industry is exposed to environmental liability and has a desire to mitigate, but at the same time is dealing with the liability and insurance cost issues driving oversalting.

There is a need to address accessibility issues related to snow services. Currently, there is no framework in place to have discussions that would improve the situation for persons with disabilities during snow and ice events.

A standard is intended to help improve safety and generally establish reasonable methods to be followed by all impacted parties with responsibilities for snow and ice management. The impacted parties would include both the owner and the contractor.

The study on the desirability and support for a snow and ice management standard will start with interviews of industry stakeholders from across Canada, followed by a workshop involving Canadian stakeholders and experts. This research will culminate with a report that will help inform the need for a standard. There is an advisory committee to the CSA Group, which includes several members from Landscape Ontario.

We expect a report to be produced by CSA Group no later than August of 2021. A positive decision would necessitate the formation of a snow and ice management committee.

We expect approval for a Snow and Ice Management standard to be developed with completion in March 2022. The participants involved will be volunteering their time. The stakeholders, including provincial and federal organizations will be looked upon for assistance, participation, contribution and/or funding. The current study cost is $20,000, which was funded through the CNLA Insurance Committees risk management budget.

On behalf of the advisory council, Gerald Boot
Gerald Boot CLHM (Certified Landscape Horticulturist Manager) is President, CEO and Founder of Boot’s Landscaping and Maintenance in Richmond Hill, Ont. Gerald is a Past-President of Landscape Ontario and a current member of the Landscape Trades Advisory Committee.