The City of Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards (ML&S) Division is undertaking a review of Chapter 693, Signs.
At the direction of the Licensing and Standards Committee, a review was completed of the existing election sign bylaw in 2014 (Chapter 693, Article II). ML&S is now reviewing the amendments previously proposed with respect to election signs, as part of an overall review of Chapter 693, Signs. This will also include a review of temporary signs, including a new category of "civic participation signs". Details of each review are below.
2015 Review - Elections, Temporary Signs and Civic Participation Signs
Municipal Licensing and Standards is reviewing the amendments previously proposed with respect to election signs, as part of an overall review of Chapter 693, Signs. This will also include a review of temporary signs, including a new category of "civic participation signs".
Municipal Licensing and Standards is looking to replace Chapter 693, Signs, Article III, Temporary Signs with general regulations that cover the various types of temporary signs.
Civic Participation Signs
Municipal Licensing and Standards is looking at developing regulations to allow residents to display temporary signs on private property to express messages on issues of public interest, as a form of civic participation. Staff received this direction at the December 2013 Licensing and Standards Committee.
Phases of the Current Signs Review
The review is being undertaken in three overlapping phases:
- Phase 1: Research and Analysis – August to October 2015
- Phase 2: Public and Stakeholder Consultations – October 2015
- Phase 3: Report – November 2015
(November 26, 2015 Licensing & Standards Committee, December 9, 2015 City Council)
2014 Review - Election Signs
At the direction of the Licensing and Standards Committee at its meeting on May 26, 2014, Municipal Licensing and Standards conducted a review of the City's existing election signs bylaw, pursuant to Chapter 693, Article II, and reported back to the August 18, 2014 meeting on recommended changes.
As part of the report, ML&S consulted with candidates and members of the public on:
- the timing of election signs
- the $250 refundable election sign deposit
- the affidavit/waiver of fees/fines process
- placement of election signs
- fees and storage of unlawfully erected election signs
- payment methods
Phases of the Review
The review proceeded in three phases:
- Phase 1: Research and Analysis – June 2014
- Phase 2: Stakeholder Consultations – July 2014
- Phase 3: Report – August 2014
Phase 1: Research and Analysis
Staff performed research and analysis into the existing bylaw, election sign issues experienced in previous elections, options to address the issues identified, and conducted a jurisdictional scan of the election sign bylaws of other municipalities.
Phase 2: Stakeholder Consultations
Based on the findings in the first phase of the review, staff consulted with stakeholders on potential amendments to the current by-law governing election signs.
Staff accepted input through consultations, meetings, emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, voice messages left at 416-338-3594, and written submissions.
Review the presentation delivered at the public consultation on July 16th at City Hall, and the summary of the input.
Phase 3: Report
Based on the research, analysis, and consultations, staff reported to the Licensing and Standards Committee on amendments to Chapter 693, Article II, Election Signs.
The report with recommendations was introduced at the August 18, 2014 meeting. View the presentation delivered by ML&S to the Licensing & Standards Committee.
Staff brought forward a report: Amendments to Chapter 693, Signs, Article II, Election Signs to the August 18, 2014 meeting of the Licensing and Standards Committee and a further report: Chapter 693, Signs, Article II, Election Signs – Additional Amendments to the August 25th Meeting of City Council.
City Council referred the item back to the Licensing and Standards Committee for further consideration in the second quarter of 2015.
As of October 2015, the current regulations governing Election Signs remain unchanged.
Placement of Election Signs – Frequently Asked Questions
Download the PDF version of this section.
What is an election sign?
An election sign is any sign:
- advertising or promoting a candidate in an election, or
- intended to influence persons to vote for or against any candidate
When can election signs be erected/displayed?
- 25 days prior to election day for municipal elections
When do election signs have to be removed?
- 72 hours after the completion of voting on election day
What is the maximum allowable size of an election sign?
Election signs must be no larger than 1.2 square metres in area, except on:
- campaign offices
- on TTC dedicated advertising space, where signs may be up to 2.3 square metres in area
How high can election signs be erected/displayed?
- Outdoors, election signs must be no higher than two metres above ground level, except on campaign offices
- Indoors, election signs in buildings on private property, may be displayed higher than 2 metres
What restrictions must be followed?
All election signs must not:
- be illuminated
- be attached to trees
- interfere with the safe operation of vehicles or pedestrian safety
Where can election signs be erected/displayed?
- with the consent of the owner/occupant of the property
- on an illuminated billboard (with a permit issued under the applicable sign bylaw)
- on a highway or a public utility pole located on a highway
- on a structure including a bus shelter and a municipal garbage container located on a highway (under agreement with the City or its Agencies, Boards, or Commissions)
- on Toronto Transit Commission dedicated advertising space (under agreement with TTC)
On a highway, election signs must not be erected/displayed:
- within 1.5 metres of the curb or edge of pavement on highways without sidewalks
- between the curb and the sidewalk on highways with sidewalks
- within 15 metres of an intersection or pedestrian crossover
- on a median or island
- adjacent to a voting place, City park or a facility that is owned or operated by the City
- without the consent of the owner/occupant of the property
Can election signs be erected/displayed on fences?
Yes, provided that they are erected/displayed with the consent of the owner/occupant of the property
Diagram showing location where Election Signs can be placed
(*Diagram not to scale)