2018 Amendments to O.Reg 239/02 – Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways

On May 3rd, 2018, the Minister of Transportation signed into law, amendments to O.Reg 239/02 – Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, which is one of the core statutory defenses municipalities have if sued for alleged non-repair of their highways. The amendments are a significant step forward, and part of the automatic five year review of the regulation. The latest amendments add new standards for winter patrol and maintenance of municipal sidewalks, the maintenance of certain types of bicycle lanes, inspecting and dealing with encroachments within 45 cm of a sidewalk, and provide a mechanism for declaring significant weather events. A broadening and clarification of the standard for Luminaires has been included, as well as a section that provides very clear guidance to the Courts in respect to the overall purpose of the Regulation, to help ensure in future that the regulation is given a broad and purposeful reading, in accordance with the provisions of the Legislation Act. These amendments are part of the continued evolution and refinement of the regulation, which itself is the manifestation of a promise made to municipal governments over 30 years ago by the Province of Ontario, that in exchange for downloading of the responsibility for certain roads and removal of capital funding, that a statutory defense to provide limits on liability, based on outcome based standards which are clear, fair and provide certainty in claims advanced against municipalities, would be created.

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