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In case of fire emergency, call 911

Johnson Township Volunteer Fire Department
Ron Smith, Chief
Lake Huron Drive, Desbarats, Ontario P0R 1E0
(705) 782-6802

CO alarms are now required

Compliance with the legislation will be phased-in:

  • Single-family homeowners and property owners/tenants in buildings that contain no more than 6 suites will have a period of six months to comply (April 15, 2015).
  • Residential occupancy owners of buildings with more than 6 suites have 12 months to comply (October 15, 2015).
  • CO alarms that have already been installed must be maintained in accordance with the Fire Code effective October 15, 2014.

Fire ban

A fire ban is the prohibition of all outdoor fires including fireworks and pyrotechnics. Conditions are sufficiently dry and impose a higher than usual risk of forest fires. Anyone who contravenes a fire ban is liable to a fine, and whatever cost that are associated with extinguishing this unlawful fire.

Restricted fire zone

A restricted fire zone means a ban on all outdoor fires and is declared by the Ministry of Natural resources when conditions are dangerously dry and the threat of forest fires is extreme. Anyone who contravenes a restricted fire zone can expect a visit from MNR, the OPP and your local fire department and is subject to heavy fines and may be liable for the cost associated with extinguishing this unlawful fire. See Forest Fires Prevention Act R. S.O 1990 c. f. 24 for details.

The Volunteer Fire Department meets Monday nights at 7:00 p. m. at the Fire Hall located on Lake Huron Drive for training and meetings. New members welcome!

Fire permit

Fire permits are required for all outside burning. Permits are of no charge, and remain valid through December 31st of the year issued. Applications can be completed online or filled out at the Township office. Online applications will be processed immediately and returned via the email address you provide.

Please remember that fire permits are subject to changes due to fire bans. Watch this website for bans throughout the season.

Apply online for a fire permit

Download safety guidelines for all types of burning (PDF)

Safety when burning grass and debris

Safety is key.

  • Ensure that you have a valid burn permit
  • Choose a safe time – Ignite the fire no sooner than 2 hours before sunset and extinguish it no later than 2 hours after sunrise; never burn on a dry, windy day
  • Keep your fire small – Burn only a single pile at one time and ensure the pile is less than 2 meters in diameter and less than 2 meters high
  • Choose a safe site – Keep the fire at least 2 meters from any flammable materials and have a shovel, rake and adequate water to contain the fire at the fire site
  • Stay with your fire – Ensure a responsible person tends the fire and never leave it unattended. Keep it under control at all times and make sure that is completely extinguished before leaving it
  • Remember! – If your burn gets away and becomes a wildfire, you will be liable for the suppression costs and damages to property including the value of lost timber.


Building a safe campfire

  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves.
  • Keep the campfire small – a good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks gives plenty of heat. Use an existing fire ring if possible.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread.
  • Start with dry twigs and small sticks. Remember that a good fire builder never needs gas or kerosene to start a fire.
  • Add larger sticks as the fire grows. Avoid using hatchets or saws, or breaking branches off trees. Dead and down wood burns easily.
  • Put the big pieces on last, pointing them toward the center and pushing them into the flames. Use wood no larger than the diameter of an adult wrist.

Putting out your campfire

  • If your campfire is not “dead out”, wind can rekindle the embers and start a wildfire. Follow these steps to be safe.
  • Keep plenty of water handy and have a shovel for throwing dirt on the fire if it gets out of control.
  • Be sure your match is out cold. Break it so you can feel the charred portion before carefully discarding it.
  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers and sticks are wet. Move rocks to check for burning embers underneath them.
  • Stir the remains, add more water and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been put out and cooled. Smaller pieces of wood are easier to put out than large logs.
  • Feel all materials with your bare hand. Make sure that no roots are burning.
  • Campfires may be banned if wildfires are likely. Watch for ban signs and obey them.


Police Services Board

The Police Services Board is a joint responsibility of the Town of Bruce Mines and the Township of Johnson. The Board currently meets alternating sites between the Council Chambers in Bruce Mines and the Township of Johnson.  The Board is also a member of the larger East Algoma Police Services Board.

Road Plans and Reports

PW Report to Council, Feb 2021 – Implemented Cost-Savings

2023 Roads Work Plan

Road Maintenance

Minimum maintenance standards

Throughout the year, the Township of Johnson receives phone calls and inquiries with respect to the condition of local roads. Most inquiries relate to winter maintenance but as spring rolls around, potholes become a source of inquiry.

The Township of Johnson is required to follow Ontario Regulation 239/02 Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways as the minimum maintenance standard for the roads within the Township[1].

These minimum maintenance standards are set pursuant to regulation under the Municipal Act, 2001, and establish the minimum standards expected of municipalities in Ontario for certain aspects of the maintenance of the roads, bridges and sidewalks under their jurisdiction.   All minimum maintenance standards including the level of service to be provided are based on the classification of a particular highway. Speed limits and traffic volumes determine their classification.

Within the Municipal Act and in particular the Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways, every highway under the jurisdiction of a municipality in Ontario is to be classified according to a specified criteria based on the applicable speed limit and the average annual daily traffic. Within the Township of Johnson, traffic volumes do not meet the set criteria for Highway Classes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Therefore, there exists Highway Class 5 roads (50 to 499 vehicles per day), and Highway Class 6 roads (0 to 49 vehicles per day).

The minimum standards for winter maintenance include but are not limited to:

Class of Highway / Patrolling Frequency
5 / Once every 30 days
6 / None

Class of Highway  / Snow Accumulation (Removal)
5  / 10 cm over 24 hours
6 / None

Class of Highway / Ice Formation Prevention
5 / 24 hours preceding event
6 / None

Class of Highway / Treating Icy Roadways
5  / With 16 hours of event
6 / None

The Township regularly exceeds these minimum standards and while not required, does treat the Class 6 Highways in a similar fashion. These minimum maintenance standards including the amendments will be of assistance to ensure public safety as well as ensuring the Township has done its due diligence.

[1] This information is general in nature and is not meant to be an all-inclusive policy on road maintenance in the Township of Johnson.

Road grading

We grade the roads as often as conditions permit. Ideal conditions are when the roads are damp because it’s easier and causes less wear and tear on the grader. We also avoid grading the roads when there is rain in the forecast as it makes the road susceptible. We cannot let the water get into freshly graded gravel, as it would make road conditions worse. Long spells of dry weather are when we get the most calls and in these circumstances, our hands are tied. When very wet roads and spring snow falls are mixed with the cold weather, it makes it very difficult to get out. We understand the roads need grading, but we wait for the right weather. We ask for your patience and understanding.


We begin putting down gravel beginning approximately June 1st, based on when the supplier of gravel is available.


View the 2021 Public Works Department Roads Plan

Bridge-Inspection-Report 2016

Bridge-Inspection-Report 2018

Johnson & Tarbutt Joint Landfill Site

The Johnson & Tarbutt Joint Landfill Site is located on Government Road between the railway tracks and Puddingstone Road.

Hours of operation

Landfill summer hours begin the long weekend in May.

May to September 30 (Summer Hours)
Saturday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday noon – 7:00 PM
Holidays – Closed

October 1 to March 31
Saturday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday noon – 5:00 PM
Holidays – Closed

Trespassers will be prosecuted. It is an offense to trespass, leave garbage at the gate, walk in and leave garbage at the bunker, or to remove items from the landfill site. Caution! The bunker fence is electrified.

Additional information

  • New system replaces Free Dump Days
  • Each ratepayer receives one ticket in their Interim Tax Bills
  • The ticket is good for one free day at the Landfill, if you have multiple properties the ticket may be used for all your properties on your one chosen day
  • Tipping fees are required for some items. Check with the landfill attendant or ask for an outline from either Township Office
  • Keeping recyclables and prohibited waste out of the landfill extends the lifespan of the facility
  • Composting plans are available from a landfill site attendant.

Accepted items

As of December 31, 2018, tires are no longer accepted. Tires are accepted at designated PRO-Producer Responsibility Organizations. Visit the RPRA website for a complete list and additional information.


Household Hazardous Waste Depot

The Household Hazardous Waste Depot is located at 402 Fifth Line East, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 6J8.

The Depot is currently closed for the season.

In-season hours
Thursday & Friday, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Visit the website for more info about hazardous waste disposal.

Landfill Communications

Download the newsletter, annual reports and meeting minutes below.


April 13, 2016 Landfill Committee Minutes


Download the 2015 Landfill Newsletter

Download the 2015 Annual Operations Report

December 10, 2015 Landfill Committee Minutes

September 30, 2015 Landfill Committee Minutes

June 9, 2015 Landfill Committee Minutes

May 13, 2015 Landfill Committee Minutes

Water & Sewer Committee

If you are interested in being on the Water and Sewer Committee please email or call the Township Office at (705) 782-6601 ext. 0, 204.


Water and sewer billing is on a monthly basis.

Residential/ Commercial Rates

Water meters are read at the first of each quarter and the resulting bills state the usage for the previous quarter. The bill is comprised of the flat rate plus any overages.

  • Water – $68.50/month Residential/ $78.50/month Commercial – based on 15 cubic meters per month
  • Sewer – $30/month
  • The usage/consumption value is the difference between the current meter reading and the previous meter reading.
  • The township is responsible for pumps, scheduled pump-outs and maintenance of the water meters. The homeowner is responsible for any additional pump-outs, pump  and meter changes due to household mishaps such as toys being flushed in system and pipes freezing that in turn would damage the pumps &/or meters.

Pump-out Schedule

  • Family – every 4 years
  • Single/Couple – every 5 years
  • Businesses – every 5 years


4227_001_Water_Sewer_fee_Collection Bylaw 2021

DSB Form 05-17 Desbarats Annual Summary Report 2020




Download the: Township of Johnson Drink Water System 2016-06-17-DBS-DWQMS-Operational Plan-

By-Law 2013-730 – Sewer Rates June 2013

By-Law 2016-821 – Water Rate Structure Change

Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities:

Dr HS Trefry Memorial Centre

Website Link:

The Trefry Centre provides many programs and services such as: Meals on Wheels, Medical Transportation, Adult Day Out, Exercise, Diner’s Club, and other social activities for residents 65+, and persons with a disability.

For more information please call: (705) 246-0036, or check out the Trefry Facebook page:

Please take note of their monthly newsletter with updates, monthly activities, and so much more here: February 2024 Newsletter