The following is an updated report of an article that has previously appeared on CityNews.ca. Some of the phone numbers have changed. Others remain the same. The red tape hasn’t been altered much, either.

They get you when you’re coming. They get you when you’re going. And if you’re in your car, they’ll eventually find you wherever you are. Potholes are as common as construction projects in the city and if you hate them as much as most drivers, you’re not alone.

The city fixes thousands and thousands of the hidden hazards every year. But if they haven’t quite gotten to the one you just ran over, your front end could be feeling a little sore. And so could your car!

Those rutted routes can play havoc with your vehicle, sometimes leading to expensive repair costs that you have no choice but to make to keep your well-oiled machines running. But it turns out, you may not have to.

If you can prove to the Toronto’s sometimes exacting standards that damage to your car was caused by damage on a city street, they may pony up the cost of your next repair. But it’s not easy. The cash strapped city keeps a vice-like grip on compensation and will dole out the cash for repairs only if you can really prove your case.

Jeff Madely is in charge of the city’s insurance claims. To get money, he says you have to demonstrate negligence on the part of the city.

“Really the first course of action that an individual should take is to go to their own insurance company for recovery. They’re insuring their vehicles. There’s no obligation on a municipality to insure their vehicles,” he states.

Do you have a claim you’d like to make?  Here’s how to get the ball rolling.

City of Toronto

First you have to prove it was the city’s fault. Toronto’s legal department never pays out a claim without a thorough investigation first.

Needless to say, they’d prefer you go through your insurance company first.

If you decide to pursue the complaint, you have to submit it in writing. The claim has to include the time, date and location of the incident, a description of what happened, and a damage estimate.

And don’t wait. Any such bid for compensation has to be done, in the city’s underlined words, “immediately”.

Address your note to:

City Clerk’s Office,
City Hall,
100 Queen Street West,
Toronto.
M5H 2N2

Fax: (416) 392-1867

Or you can email: clerk@toronto.ca

But even then you’re not finished. Two weeks later, you’ll get another letter in the mail acknowledging receipt of your complaint and if it’s found valid, you’ll then receive yet another form to fill out.

For more information, call (416) 397-4212.

City of Toronto pothole page

Ontario Highways

The needs are similar to the city, but the envelope or email goes somewhere else.

Mail a comprehensive claim that includes the time, date and location where the damage occurred, and include copies of any relevant documents – like a repair bill or an estimate.

Send it to:

Management Board Secretariat
Risk Management & Insurance Services
700 University Avenue,
6th Floor,
Toronto.
M7A 2S4

Here’s where more government red tape comes in. You can fax the information if you want to (416) 314-4444 – but you have to follow it up with a mailed letter either way. And you may have to wait up to three months for an answer.

Call (416) 314-3445 for more information.

Pothole Repair

Finally, there’s a way to get even with the pothole that did you in. In Toronto, call (416) 599-9090 and then push #1,6,4. You’ll then be asked to pick the location you’re concerned about and someone will take down your information. An inspector will go out and if the problem is serious it will be fixed right away. If not, it could take two or three days.

If you come across a hiccup on the highway, call (416) 235-4686 or toll-free at 1-800-268-4686.

York Region Potholes

To report a pothole in York Region, call 905-895-1200 x 5200 Not sure if it’s a York Region road or a city road? Don’t worry – they’re sure to let you know.