Men shovelling snow into a dump truck in Halifax. Judging by the car and the split differential on the truck, this is possibly in the late 1930's.
Photo Credit: Nova Scotia Archives

In Nova Scotia, don’t complain loudly about lack of snow removal

With winter fully upon most of Canada, there are often complaints that following a snowfall that cities are too slow in removing the snow so peole can safely walk, drive, and park.

In the east coast province of Nova Scotia, complainants might do well to not complain too loudly.

It seems there is a provincial law still in force that can conscript residents to grab a shovel and clear highways made impassible by the snow.

The law can require “all physically fit male persons” between the ages of 16 and 60 to get out and shovel snow. The law was later amended to include women as well.

Failure to show up for duty as ordered could have resulted in a fine, the equivalent of roughly $5 to $10 in today’s value, but although that doesn’t seem like much, you might also have been tossed in jail for up to 10 days.

Big snowploughs, and heavy equipment has long been used to remove snow and its not clear when the legislation was last used.  The law is still on the books because no-one has bothered to remove it.

Statutory labour was introduced in the province in 1761 and settlers were responsible for clearing roads in their community.

Still it might not have been all that long ago that the requirement was used.

A Halifax resident queried about the law rembered that his wife’s grandfather used to pick up men with shovels as he drove into town. They would load dump trucks with sand and then shoveling again by hand would spread it along the roads.

(with files from CBC)

Categories: Environment & Animal Life, Society

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